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Learning Through Play

With a play-based curriculum, children develop a love for learning. In the early years, they make strong connections in the brain associated with the experiences in their life which then prepare them for further learning. 

Here at KCS, we want each child to have positive, inspiring experiences to create life-long learners in everyone. As children engage in one activity, they are practising several skills at one time and exercising different parts of the brain. Intentionally-planned play fosters essential life skills, such as sharing, perspective-taking, math, language and literacy.

When you see your child playing in the…

ARTS CENTRE

They are developing habits to be active, create, act with empathy, show what they know, communicate clearly, think creatively and flexibly, and lead to make a difference. Whether it’s a straight line or some scribbles, children are preparing for writing. Before they can write, they draw, and before they draw they scribble. So while it may look like a scribbled mess to some, children learn how to hold a crayon and develop the muscles to do so. When educators describe art objectively, a child’s vocabulary and confidence starts to grow. By not interfering and allowing children to explore with art, they are able to express themselves creatively and appreciate others’ hard work. When asking a child to speak about their picture, they may say it is “just a line,” or they may tell a story about an experience that was meaningful to them. As educators model conversation with children about differences and similarities in art, they develop their observational skills as well as their ability to take on another’s perspective. In describing art objectively, children are praised for hard work, persistence, and expressing themselves in creative ways. When educators bring a variety of art concepts to a classroom, children can become inspired to explore and try new things, in art or other areas of their development. Creating art in a variety of media allows for self-expression and self-regulation; a source of pride for each child, leading to healthier minds and hearts.

BLOCK CENTRE

They are developing the habits to create, share what they know, communicate clearly, adapt, use past learning, question and be curious, persist, be resilient, find humor, strive for accuracy, think about their thinking, think creatively and flexibly, and seek collaboration. When educators engage with children in the block centre, they are teaching them the vocabulary not only for describing their structure, but how to communicate their vision to their peers. Therefore, when children are asked, “Why does this tower keep falling over?” or “How can you make the building as tall as you are?” they are encouraged to problem-solve, and examine their own thinking. Educators can add a variety of material to blocks to extend a child’s learning and broaden their interests. In positive and enjoyable ways, children practise multiple brain functions from the concept of balance to transferring what they imagine into a physical structure with their blocks. The block center sets the foundation for a whole world of scientific discovery, as well as social and emotional learning.

BOOK CORNER

They are developing the habits to embrace learning, question and be curious, persist, show self-control, listen to understand, think creatively, strive for accuracy, find humour, be resilient, seek collaboration, use past learning and communicate clearly. As children tell stories, sing songs and play with words, they are beginning their journey of literacy. Simple songs and rhymes that educators teach children are equivalent to calisthenics for their young minds, fostering memory, a sense of narrative and a joy for learning. Conversing with peers and engaged educators, children build vocabulary and learn respectful ways of communicating in a diverse world. By having positive experiences related to books and word play, children develop letter recognition, which in turn leads to reading and writing, public speaking and leadership roles. When educators model a love for literacy it becomes a valued and important part of each day. When writing is meaningful for them, children gain confidence by creating their own books, signs and cards. The book area is a place for children to exercise their leadership skills or have a healthy moment to rest their brains after a long period of stimulation. Once children feel empowered, sharing their thoughts and ideas through print brings endless possibilities.

DRAMATIC CENTRE

They are developing habits to use past learning, act with empathy, adapt, find humor, show self-control, think creatively, and lead to make a difference. With positive examples set by engaged educators, children begin to explore various emotions and learn how to express themselves in socially acceptable ways. When educators explore with children, dramatic play fosters language development by sharing ideas, feelings and experiences. Children are able to talk to each other, pretend to be someone else and explore their likes and dislikes. They are able to be someone they may not have the chance to be otherwise, which inspires empathy and allows them to explore diverse cultures, abilities and experiences. When educators take the time to play and engage with children, their play builds and more neural connections are made in the brain. This continued process allows children to learn more and begin thinking at a higher level. Dressing up and practising life skills in the dramatic centre also provides meaningful experiences for children to master counting, literacy and self-help skills.

OUTDOOR CLASSROOM

They are developing the habits to adapt, make the world better, lead to make a difference, be active, embrace learning, question and be curious, persist, show self control, think creatively and flexibly, respond with awe and appreciation, take responsible risks, think about their thinking, find humor, seek collaboration and use past learning. In the outdoor classroom, children develop their gross motor skills, take responsible risks with climbing and balancing, as well as exploring new social situations. The outdoor classroom becomes a world of social navigation, undoubtedly to come in the world ahead of them. As children explore the space together, they are encouraged to listen and empathise, be patient and brainstorm solutions to problems. By exploring these skills in the realm of play, children can practice conflict resolution with the help of engaged educators, and eventually master it independently. They develop strength in body and mind, becoming physically and cognitively stronger with spatial exploration, discovering nature and executing independent decision-making that will keep them safe. Having a well-planned outdoor space also leads to exploration and discovery of nature, bringing together science and citizenship and a strong sense of autonomy. Initiating a relationship with nature can give children many skills to prepare them for life such as observing change and progress, mindfulness, and taking care of the world around them. Outdoor learning promotes brain development as a result of this unique and crucial experience.

WATER TABLE OR SAND TABLE

They are developing habits to embrace learning, question and be curious, persist, adapt, show self-control, think creatively, be resilient, seek collaboration, use past learning and share what they know. They are able to explore the properties of water and sand, and gain an understanding of concepts such as weight and measure and a basic understanding of the physical world. Children also obtain tactile experiences, strengthening brain development by creating new neural connections, while fostering their personal preferences. A variety of sensory experiences provide children with the opportunity to observe, inquire and problem-solve, cooperatively or independently. Dedicated educators are key in modeling these behaviours to form positive habits in children. As educators describe sensory experiences, children gain vocabulary. As they ask children open-ended questions, children show what they know and hear what other children have observed that may be new or different from their point of view.
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