3 ways Free play shapes your preschooler:
Part of the reason I love being a preschool teacher is being involved in watching the connections form. I love the way my kids progress on a daily basis and seeing lightbulbs (of thought) illuminate.
We are almost halfway through this year and they have already come so far. Most of those who were not potty trained in the beginning have started the process, if not completely aced it! We have learned to put on our shoes and coats independently. We have learned to blow our noses (have you watched a toddler try this? do it, it’s kind of hilarious) and wash our hands. We have learned to use our words rather than our hands, without whining or screaming… mostly. We have also improved our recognition with colors, numbers, AND shapes! I will tell you what, it is a busy time to be a 2-3 year old!
How have we seem to come so far, in what seems like such a little time? Mostly it is because their brains are super heroes! I think a lot of people think that teaching this age, or any age really, is a lot of work, and don’t get me wrong it is. However, while there is a lot to be done with lesson plans and art projects (structured activities), majority of the work with this age group is learning to sit back and observe, only interjecting when necessary. Don’t get me wrong, structured activities are also such an important part of their education and development, but most of their learning at this point is developed through free play.
It is seriously mind blowing to see how much play shapes their entire being. This is when their brain is on fire, consuming literally anything they can see, hear, create, and imagine. Their brain is free to learn through trial and error. They can explore and experience a billion different worlds through role play. This obviously strongly impacts their ability to imagine and create, but also really builds self confidence and self efficiency in day to day tasks. THESE ARE SO IMPORTANT in creating healthy, successful, and strong individuals.
In addition, for the last few months, I have watched every child continue to progress and perfect their communication skills. I noticed the other day just how little I was having to interject to guide a child on how to properly communicate their feelings. Now instead of offering guidance, I often hear “I don’t like when you knock over my toys, please stop.” “That was not very nice, it makes me feel sad when you do that.” “Please don’t push me.” with out any interjection needed. PLUS, as I continue to quietly observe with such pride at their growth, I watch as these small gestures turn into full blow conversations. They have become such little adults! Hands down one of my favorite things, ever.
Long story short, Preschool is hard and often busy but their brains are super heroes, and I love watching every second of it! Lastly, let them play.
P.S. I created a public Instagram account (@bestillhawk) so that I can stay connect with you guys a little easier. I’m working on posting here more often, but let’s keep the conversation going!