Play is Learning

Learning at Country Fun Child Care is based on free play – the foundation of learning in young children. Play has an essential role in a child’s overall development.

Play:

  • Fosters creativity and imagination.
  • Encourages cognitive, emotional, and social skills.
  • Cultivates initiative and independence.
  • Promotes problem solving and decision making.
  • Teaches emotional control.
  • Furthers cooperation with others.
  • Develops motor coordination and enhances overall physical health.

A variety of open-ended toys and manipulatives are available at all times for children to play with. The selection of these toys and the physical set-up of the child care space changes as the interests and developmental level of the children indicate. Projects incorporated into our play are developed around the interests and skill levels of the children participating. Children are continually assessed using the appropriate Maine Early Learning Developmental Standards.

As an Early Childhood Educator, it is my responsibility to help the children in my care have a successful beginning on their learning path. Opportunities are provided that support:

  • developing a trusting relationship with adults
  • developing an understanding of themselves as individuals
  • allowing children to take the initiative, express opinions and make choices
  • collaboration and working with peers
  • using a child’s interests to motivate and engage them in learning
  • viewing a child’s errors as learning opportunities
  • develop a strong oral and receptive vocabulary
  • develop readiness skills in math and reading
  • develop gross and fine motor skills
  • understanding and following a routine
  • learning to transition between activities
  • assessing a child’s thinking, as well as their work, in order to support their learning

I have found by approaching all interactions with “intention”, myself and staff are able to do the best we can by the children in care. I believe early educators need to not just observe, but be sensitive to the individual needs of the young children in care. From there one can determine the most effective teaching strategies to use for each child and experience. At Country Fun Child Care it is important that each child get a good start on their path to a successful and fulfilling life. Not what I want for them, or what their parents want for them, but what they want for themselves. Children need to learn who they are and what they are capable of. With a positive self-image and self-esteem anything is possible.

From a belief that strong families support a child’s development, daily contact which provides the opportunity to develop that strong relationship with each family is important. It is also important to provide outside resource material directly to families when needed in supporting each child’s development.


“Intention” Curriculum

When one teaches with intention, one:

  • has a learning environment that is rich in materials to offer students a variety of experiences and chances for interactions
  • continually observes students to gage interests and level of comprehension
  • encourages exploration
  • talks with and listens to the students
  • challenges students to question, stretch their abilities, and work outside their comfort zone
  • continually extends students’ existing knowledge as new lessons are introduced
  • covers all areas of instruction
  • understands the content to be taught
  • matches content to the developmental levels and emerging skills of students
  • plans, but remains flexible
  • uses spontaneous or unexpected teaching opportunities
  • reflects on success of strategies used and alternatives
  • reflects on their own strengths and weaknesses to direct their continuing professional development

Teaching from an “Intention” curriculum it doesn’t matter if my or staff is helping an infant developing body awareness, a toddler expanding their developing language skills, a preschooler learning the alphabet, or the school-aged with homework support, if each child and situation is approached with intention, we end up providing them with the “best” we can.