Everyday our students play in center time and love it! Center time is an important part of our day; however, many parents either don’t know what centers are or simply see it as play time. So what are centers, and why are they so important?
The dramatic play (or home center as our students call it) is an important part of a child’s social, emotional, and cognitive development. Many parents see dramatic play as dress up time. However, it teaches children many things including:
The dramatic play center is used for so much more than dress up. In the dramatic play center, children use their imaginations, act out things in their everyday lives, and learn to play together.
The writing center is the one center that most parents seem to question the most. “Why do the kids need a writing center? They can’t really write yet, it’s just scribbles.” Practice makes perfect. While children in preschool don’t yet know how to “write” they must start somewhere. The writing center helps children with fine motor skills and pencil grip. As well as using their imaginations to create their writings.
In the writing center, children get to practice their writing with different tools such as crayons, pencils, colored pencils, markers, etc. By encouraging children to write, even if it is just scribbles, teachers are setting that child up to succeed.
The sensory table is a favorite among the kids. Parents love them! They like that sensory tables are so tactile. While yes, they are very tactile, sensory tables are for more than just touch.
In the sensory table, children should be using 4 out of their 5 senses. (But let’s face it sometimes the kids like to try and sneak taste in there too!) A sensory table should excite children by its sight (colorful, unusual objects, etc.). Children will notice the different smells and hear the items as they fall into the bin. Sensory play provides an opportunity for every child to flourish.
The reading center is an important area in every classroom. Children should always have access to a variety of books! While children at this age cannot read just yet, they enjoy making stories to match the pictures and “reading” to their friends.
Having access to books encourages language development and stimulates children’s imagination and thinking skills. Ask any teacher and they will tell you children can never read too many books!
Finally, we have the manipulatives. At our school, you will see different items put out at the tables each day. Manipulatives help teach children a variety of things from pinch grip to patterns to basic math.
The children love the variety of the different toys. They just think they are playing when they are learning.
“Play is the highest form of research” –Albert Einstein. Children don’t learn from only the traditional methods. Children are learning when they play.
What is your educational philosophy?
Is the preschool you are considering at Montessori, developmental, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf, academic, faith-based, or something else? Parents should look for a school that has a philosophy that is complimentary to their own.
What is the turn over like? What kind of training does the staff receive?
Teachers and preschool directors who have been with the school for a while are likely happy and enjoy their work. This filters down to the children.
Is the teaching staff CPR and First Aid certified? Do they receive continued education classes?
1. Heat Related Illnesses
The heat can get to anyone. Especially young children. Heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke are all things to be watching for as we take more of our activities outside. Always monitor your child for any of the following:
While there are many more signs of a heat illness these are generally some of the first to appear. Heat illnesses can be avoided by encouraging you child to drink liquids, eat fruit, and cool offf frequently.
Fireworks and summer. They just go hand in hand. Children look forward to playing with sparklers and seeing the bright colors in the sky. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
– Never allow children to ignite the fireworks
-Sparklers can stay hot even after burning out. Make sure to fully extinguish by plunging the hot end into a bucket of water.
– Teach children not to wave sparklers near anyone else, or to run while holding them.
Summer time means more time outside. Be it hiking, having a picnic, or just exploring. It also means that poison ivy, oak, and sumac are flourishing. These plants can be identified by:
– Poison Ivy: 3 almond shaped leaves
– Poison Oak: 3 leaves with scalloped, toothed, or lobed edges
– Poison Sumac: oblong/oval leaves
Remember the saying “Leaves of 3 beware of me.” However if you or your child do come in contact with any of these plants calamine lotion can help relieve some of the itchiness. It’s time to see a doctor if you notice any of these problems:
– Temperature over 100
– Pus on the rash
– Soft yellow scabs
– Itching that gets worse or keeps you up at night
– The rash spreads to your eyes, mouth, or genital area
– Your rash doesn’t get better within a few weeks
Be sure to seek emergency medical care if you have any issues breathing, difficulty swallowing, an eyelid swells shut, rash on your face or genitals, or your skin itches everywhere and nothing makes it feel better.
BBQ’s and picnics are abundant in the summer time. Food is a great way to bring people together. However there are a few things to keep in mind:
– Be careful of cross contamination. Meat and veggies should not be cut on the same cutting board or with the same knife. Be sure when packing a cooler that meat is wrapped tightly and securely so as not to contaminate everything else.
– Be sure to fully cook all food. Chicken and pork are especially dangerous if under cooked.
– Refrigerate any leftover foods promptly. Food that has been left out in the sun can quickly turn bad.
7. Crowded Places
Amusement parks are a great way to spend a day (or weekend). There is so much to do from riding the different rides, playing carnival games, and eating delicious foods. The other thing amusement parks have a lot of? People. Lots of people. Before you head off for some fun make sure you talk to your child about:
– Stranger Danger. Make sure your child knows the difference between a stranger that might hurt them and a stranger that can help them (think police officer, fireman, etc).
– Make sure young children know parents REAL name, not just Mom and Dad. That way if they were to get separated from you, it would be easier for people to help your child find you.
– Talk about what to do if they get lost. Who should they look to for help? Do they know your phone number?
– Speaking of phone number, one thing you can do is write your name and phone number on your child’s arm and cover with liquid bandage. The liquid bandage keep it from coming off due to sweat or water.
Summer is a wonderful time of year. There is lots to do and see. Use these 7 tips to help you have the best summer yet!
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