Many arguments fall into two camps, like “play-based curriculum” versus “academic readiness” for preschoolers. At Kids Konnect, we have found that there can be balance between the two camps, by offering both child and teach-directed curricula to serve our preschool children.
When children select activities and items, they bring with them natural enthusiasm and intrinsic motivation. Children are wholly immersed; they take "play" very seriously. They fantasize completely, tune out distractions, and persevere with challenges. What adults call play, preschoolers may simply feel is their necessary, joyful work, say the experts at GreatSchools.
With hands-on, multi-sensory play at their fingertips, these preschoolers may not realize they're constantly supported by teachers who take advantage of teachable moments. Where you may see chaos, the teacher and children see meaningful investigations in math, social studies, science, and more.
A single activity can actually combine social, emotional, physical and cognitive learning. The great skill of the Kids Konnect teacher is to seize on the child’s play and guide that play to gain the greatest learning experience from it.
Springing from the child’s natural curiosity, a play-based curriculum, says PBS, is distinctly set apart from kindergarten and elementary school. This makes it valuable as a completely separate method of learning, while still preparing preschoolers for later structure.
Developmentally, play is vital to a child’s growth. With a strong foundation of play-based curriculum, preschoolers will be resilient when given less playful, more academic work in kindergarten and beyond.
A recent piece in The Atlantic presented the argument against academic readiness preschool:
“...educational policies that are pushing academic goals down to ever earlier levels seem to be contributing to—while at the same time obscuring—the fact that young children are gaining fewer skills, not more.”
We as adults owe to our children a lifelong love of learning. At Kids Konnect, we know that academic readiness curricula in preschool extinguish that love at precisely the time when we need to be instilling it. We prefer a balanced approach in which the children, not curricula, drive the learning.
Have you noticed that your playful preschooler shows readiness for structure? We enjoy sharing ideas at Kids Konnect, so please comment below.