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Preschool Newsletter about your Dramatic Play Interest center, teaching letters, numbers, colors & s
March 02, 2013
Dramatic Play, Teaching Letters, Numbers, Colors and Shapes and Providing Science activities in a limited space!
Welcome to the fifteeth issue of the Preschool Plan-It Primer, a free newsletter from Preschool Plan It
My hope is that you find information in each newsletter that is helpful to you- the Early Childhood Educator- as you work with this wonderful group called Preschoolers! This newsletter is now a quarterly newsletter.
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March 2013, Issue # 15
In This Issue:
Article: Teaching ABCs, 123s, Colors and Shapes
Tips & Timesavers: Science Center in a Limited Space
Interest Center Focus: Dramatic Play Area
What's New? Search It, Find It, Plan It!
I received an email suggesting that a letter, number, color and shape be added to the pages to tie into the lessons. Thank you, Mary, for the email. I could not agree more!
These four items are very fundamental and important to our children's development and school success.
When I first began teacher preschool many years ago, I struggled with how to introduce or teach these items. Three year old children are ready for introduction of these items but not necessarily ready to be instructed on the formation of them, as many four year old children are.
I struggled with this when developing the Themes section: Do I include these items to each theme or not? I chose not to and here is why.
Each teacher, and sometimes each school, has their own format, method or philosophy regarding when and how to introduce letters, numbers, colors and shapes. As an example: For the alphabet, some teachers use a Letter of the Week method. This method may be to introduce the letters in order from A-Z or it may be to introduce the consonants in order and then the vowels. There are also a variety of methods used to introduce shapes, colors and numbers, depending upon the teacher's philosophy or that of the school.
I do have a theme named Colors (found at http://www.preschool-plan-it.com/preschool-colors-theme.html ). On that page, I address the different ways to introduce colors as well as activities for each interest center. I am in the process of working on themes for Numbers, Shapes and the Alphabet that will do the same.
All this to say that we would need to choose the letter, number shape and color based on our individual methods and tie them into the theme being used. In our classroom, we choose which of each we are going to teacher each month at the beginning of the year. When we choose our themes for each month, we then determine how to tie it in. If it is Letter S week and color Green month and we have the theme Rain Forest......we would need to intentionally plan how to tie that in. It may be to focus on S when introducing Snakes, Sloths, Sun......green would naturally tie into this theme. If the letter is C, we might focus on it via Cocoa beans, Coffee (product of the Rain Forest), Canopy Layer, etc.
I chose not to add my own suggestions for letters, numbers, colors and shapes to each theme in order to leave it open to each teacher and not "box in" a teacher to a specific letter or shape.
I hope this helps explain the reasoning a bit.
So, how do YOU introduce these items? I'd love to hear from you about this as I develop the letters, shapes and numbers themes this year and share the different formats you all use for these areas!
Since launching my first online workshop, Science In the Preschool Classroom, I have been "Wowed" by all of your creative ways to add a Science component to classrooms that struggle for room!
Science is an activity that promotes all areas of children's development, yet many of us are limited in the space in our classroom or we have to share space which limits what we can leave in our classrooms each day.
Don't let that stop you! When planning your activities, plan for science--both open-ended, informal activities where the children freely explore the materials you have out for them and through formal activities where perhaps you do an experiment with small groups.
Once you've planned your activity or activities for the week, obtain a small or medium plastic bin with a cover.
Collect the materials you'll need for your science area and place them in that bin.
Place the bin or the materials from the bin on a table or other area in your classroom.
At the end of your morning or day, simply place the items back in the bin for the next day!
For ideas on WHERE to set up a Science Interest Center, go to the Classroom Design Page by CLICKING HERE!
When we think of dramatic play, many times we think of the "Housekeeping" or "Home Living" area of our classrooms. They are GREAT areas, however, not the only way to provide Dramatic Play!
Let's look at what Dramatic Play refers to and what children learn by participating!
What do children learn while playing in a dramatic play area?
Preschool children will:
Develop socio-emotional skills by playing out situations from their own life or from pretend theme situations, which help them learn more about themselves, their friends and the world around them.
Develop large (gross) motor skills by moving tables, chairs and other items during play.
Develop small (fine) motor skills by using smaller items (such as play food, utensils etc.) during play.
Increase their language and problem-solving skills as they play in this area with their peers and work out play scenarios.
Express their creativity by developing themes to play out.
How should the teacher prepare for a Dramatic Play Interest Center?
Teachers prepare for this area by pre-planning what theme will be used in the dramatic play area (if you have a theme-based area).
You also prepare by checking items for safety (purging any broken or worn items), by adding theme related items and by supervising the area to make it a safe place for children to pretend play in.
The children will not need suggestions or planned activities for this area, just props and the opportunity to use their imaginations.
Where should the teacher locate a Dramatic Play Interest Center?
This will very much depend upon how much space you have and how many areas you'll have!
In one classroom, we found that Housekeeping or Homeliving was always popular, therefore, we had a permanent space for it all year.
In addition, we had a theme related drama area elsewhere in the classroom. This one would be changed to reflect the theme we were working on (our themes lasted 2 weeks or more).
A Dramatic Play Area needs a large space. This area is very active and busy and, therefore, should be set up near other busy areas. Avoid placing it next to quiet areas such as your classroom library.
For suggestions about where to set up your Dramatic Play and other Interest Centers, CLICK HERE for the Classroom Design Page
Materials for your Dramatic Play Area
Again, this will depend on the type of area.
Housekeeping or Homeliving Dramatic Play Area
For this area, you will need a play kitchen (refrigerator, stove, dishes, utensils) as well as play food, a table and chairs, play telephones, dolls, beds or cradles for the dolls and clothes.
There are many more items you could provide--think of your own home! Perhaps you could have a Dustbuster, a child sized broom and dustpan or vacuum cleaner, etc.
Theme based Dramatic Play Areas
This is where you let your imaginations run wild! What is your theme for the next few weeks?
Is it dinosaurs? Why not set up a dinosaur cave! Hang a dark sheet or streamers from the ceiling in this area. Add stuffed dinosaurs or dinosaur costumes, plastic eggs (for their babies!) perhaps filled with small, plastic dinosaurs, books about prehistoric times, play food, etc.
In summary, dramatic play or pretend play is an activity that I recommend having available each and every day. It is one of the few places in the preschool classroom where the children can use their creativity, imaginations, language and problem solving skills at the same time!
Below is the link to my THEMES page. Under each theme, you will find suggestions for changes to the Dramatic Play Area for each theme!
For more Interest Learning Centers Articles, CLICK HERE
The following pages were added since the last newsletter!
Suggestions for March Themes:
Dr. Seuss Theme His birthday is celebrated March 1!
Colors Theme To go along with St. Patrick's Day!
St Patrick's Day Theme Celebrated on March 17th
Spring Theme First Day of Spring is March 20th
Comments? Ideas for future newsletters? Feedback? This newsletter is written FOR you, so I'd love to hear from you. Just reply to this zine and tell me what you think!
Until Next Time,
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