Welcome to Little Hive!
Mrs. Sewell/Mrs. McKnatt
In the Little Hive classroom we are always busy as bees working and playing in a variety of centers. To the average person it may just look like we are playing all day long, but in reality there is a lot of hard work and skills that are developed throughout our play. A plethora of research supports the importance of play based learning in the development of the brain. Hirsh-Pasek et al. conducted a research field study in 2015 in which they identified four ingredients that lead to successful learning. They concluded that the best learning occurs when children are mentally active, engaged in learning and not distracted, socially interactive with their peers or adults, and are making meaningful connections to their own lives. If you think about it, PLAY contains all four of these constructs that help promote successful learning, which is perhaps why play is such an important tool when learning!
The vast majority of what you see in our classroom on a daily basis falls under the category of guided play experiences, guided play continues to let your daughter engage in the joyful aspects of child-directed free play, but adds additional light guidance, direction, and scaffolding from a teacher to ensure progress towards a learning goal. Guided play provides a discovery learning approach that increases student’s knowledge base through a variety of learning opportunities, coupled with meaningful and engaging feedback from teachers. Weisberg et al. (2014) found that guided play is especially important because it helps develop proactive control, an area of the brain’s prefrontal cortex that determines what happens next. In animal studies, researchers have even found that play in the early years leads the brain to be more adaptable in later life especially with social skills and executive functioning skills (Pellis, Pellis, and Himmler 2014). Guided play also helps to develop language and mathematics and spatial skills which are important pre-academic skills as your daughter prepares for reading and higher level math skills. It truly is amazing how important play is!
As you see pictures of your daughter playing around the room, you may think that they are simply engaging in play but in actuality she is growing her brain! A girl that plays with others in the dramatic play center or in the block center is actually working on a variety of social skills such as sharing, turn taking, and working cooperatively. She is also developing key language skills, such a learning to engage in conversational speaking, learning to listen to her peers and formulate an appropriate response, as well as developing her vocabulary. She is also developing key executive functions such as paying attention to the play schema, planning responses, and working on her proactive control in her prefrontal cortex!
You may also see your daughter playing with playdough, pom poms and tweezers, and stringing beads. While your daughter is enjoying these fun play activities she is also busy developing tiny muscles in her hands and fingers and fine motor skills that will help her when she learns to write her name. Her hand-eye coordination is growing and improving while enjoying these activities and important skill that will help you daughter as she begins reading and decoding words.
Girls in the classroom are always engaged in a variety of art activities, coloring, drawing and painting. While exploring these guided play experiences, girls are working on developing important pre-writing skills such as learning to make straight and curved lines. They are also working on fine motor skills such as the correct way to hold a paint brush, marker, and crayon which translates to holding a pencil as your daughter learns to write.
Play is an important part of childhood and as your daughter plays throughout the day in the Little Hive classroom she is working on developing critical academic and social skills she will continue to use throughout her entire life!
Welcome to Little Hive! We are excited for a wonderful school year. Check back here for updates on what is going on in our classroom!