Jamie Y. Johnson teaches kindergarten in the Seattle, Washington, public schools. Her current and past experience with very young students caused her to recognize the degree of academic and social foundational skills boys and girls are expected to have at the time they enter kindergarten. The result is special challenges for teachers who have to devise ways to make up for deficits in these areas and, at the same time, teach the skills required to meet school standards.
Ideally, children will have developed the motor control needed for cutting, writing and drawing, finger and grasp strength, before the first day of kindergarten. Children who do not have these skills have a difficult time performing tasks at an equal level with their peers who already have these skill sets in place.
Jamie Johnson has found there are many things parents can do to support their child’s early development and success skills. She has written a guest blog, “Teaching Though Play – Children, School, and Play”, posted in the teaching section of CoursesGuide.org. The author reminds parents that as a first teacher for their children they are the primary influence on a child’s development. Her blog says, “Starting with infancy, a child’s earliest experiences lead them naturally to play. Children are typically playful first by themselves, and eventually with others. Through the toddler years play becomes more sophisticated and less solitary.”
Some of the ways parents can help children play and learn simultaneously include:
• Organizing pretend activities.
• Set up problems to solve such as, “How much to we need?”
• Allow children to assign character roles in play. For example, ask who will be the teacher and who will be the students.
• Read to the child each day. Reading together creates a bond between adult and child and cultivates a love of reading and hearing stories.
Jamie Johnson considers herself, “The kind of teacher who values each student’s ideas and opinions in the classroom, while creating a welcoming learning environment and sense of belonging to all.” She applies this philosophy to her suggestions for teaching pre-school children and kindergartners through play.
To read the entire article, “Teaching Through Play – Children, School, and Play”, go to http://www.coursesguide.org/643.teaching-through-play-children-school-and-play/
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