Why Finding the Right Preschool Matters
If you drive down a suburban street on any Saturday you’ll probably see yard sales filled with colorful toys for sale. As parents, grandparents and family, we are constantly looking for toys and activities that will capture a child’s interests. Perhaps you should stop and see if another plastic pink castle or action figure will be the perfect toy?
What if the answer is not more toys? What if the answer is less clutter, less excess?
You may have been frustrated as a parent to buy something that looks visually interesting or sounds fun only to find your child is not interested in it at all. The Reggio approach advocates keeping clutter to a minimum which stimulates more activity with children. It allows them more time to focus on one specific interest rather than dart from one thing to another. Clean and inviting spaces that can accommodate dancing or jumping, sprawling on the floor to color a picture, or few distractions encourages more creative play.
If you think of a child’s play area as a “yes” area, they will show you what they are interested in and how they learn. Learning is unique to each child. Some are kinesthetic learners, who learn by doing – touching, wiggling, or jumping. Some are more auditory learners who learn through song or storytelling, and those who learn best visually such as sorting colors or blocks, or matching pictures.
In this yes area the answer then becomes, “Yes you can paint, yes you can twirl around while listening to music, or you can sprawl on the floor with your blocks and build while you explore new ideas.” A child may pick a favorite stuffed animal and read to it, then push it around in a toy car and then pick it up to dance while imagining they are the teacher or parent. As the activity progresses the child may decide the animal is hurt or sick and they are a doctor. By exploring what they experience in a day and working through that by acting out all possible scenarios the stuffed animal is now more than just a comfort item, it is a friend or an actor in a play. This atmosphere of natural play engages a child physically ( dancing or pushing around in a car), cognitively (considering all the possible activities that happens each day), and emotionally (concern and caring for the injured animal), all areas that are quickly developing at this age.
Remembering that every child learns in their own way and that they can learn by guiding themselves to explore will alleviate both clutter and expense.
Keep that in mind when you’re searching for a preschool, or next time you’re tempted to slow down for a yard sale.