What exactly do children learn in preschool and what is the purpose of their play? Here is the specific breakdown of learning in each of these areas.
This is possibly the most important area in which young children develop. Young children must learn problem-solving skills, decision-making skills, and how to understand their own and their friends’ emotions. They also need to learn empathy for others and effective ways to handle conflict. Finally, pre-school should foster positive attitudes about the strategies for learning in children.
Young children are just learning to control their fine motor skills and make precise movements with their hands, fingers, wrists, and shoulders. Development in this area comes only with practice. Gross motor skills involve making controlled movement in the arms, legs, feet, and torso. Children learn to climb stairs, jump, skip, run and eventually do things like swing bats and dance; all of which require balance and coordination.
In every area of the classroom, children are exposed to spoken language and other forms of communication. Language development includes: communicating wants and needs, asking questions and listening to answers, understanding what others say, and expressing thoughts, feelings, and ideas.
In pre-school, children need to sing, chant, and encounter environmental print. Opportunities to explore books, have books read to them, recognize that printed words represent spoken words, and begin to recognize individual sounds in words (phonological awareness). The preschool experience with reading often culminates in children learning to read and write individual letters and sometimes words.
Sorting, learning shapes, recognizing and naming numbers, pattering, grouping, and understanding concepts such as few and many, and learning to tell time, are all math skills children begin to acquire in preschool.
Young children exhibit a great deal of curiosity. It is the ability to ask questions, and gather information and record and evaluate data that translates into specific learning. Other science skills involve exploration with scientific concepts (such as gravity), content (such as what happens to autumn leaves), properties (such as hot and cold), and tools (such as scales and magnifying glasses).
Creative Expression and Arts Appreciation
Children who learn to pretend play different scenarios and a variety of circumstances develop imagination, problem solving skills, and empathy. Self-expression is also achieved through creating and reacting to art and through music and movement.
Health and Safety
Very young children need to learn to take some responsibility for keeping themselves healthy and safe. Daily activities such as keeping clean, eating healthy food, and practicing safety drills reinforce the child’s at-home experiences.
Preschool is one of the earliest communities children encounter. The classroom gives opportunities to experience diversity, cooperation and social roles.