Preschool Library, Supply Inventory and The Importance of Play

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April 2012, Issue # 9

In This Issue:

Article: The Importance of Play

Tips & Timesavers: Supply Inventory

Interest Center Focus: Preschool Library Interest Center

What’s New? Search It, Find It, Plan It!

The Importance of Play

We know that preschoolers LOVE to play—in the interest centers, in your gross motor area and outside! Let’s not forget that play is not as random or chaotic as it seems. Free choice play time is one of your BEST opportunities to teach!

When we instruct children as a group, such as at Circle Time, we are imparting information and hopefully encouraging them to participate in many conversations, but let’s face it—preschoolers can talk up a storm!

Therefore there are limited opportunities for give and take conversation with a large group and an even more limited opportunity for the children to interact with each other.

Enter “Play Time”! When children choose the centers they will participate in they are completely involved in it. They have chosen an area of interest to them at that moment. They have many ideas about how they want to interact in that center.

This is one of the best times for them to practice their language skills as they make plans for what to cook in housekeeping or what they want to build in the block center or what colors of paint they want to use at the easel. It is a time for them to practice their problem solving skills as they negotiate a turn using the stroller in housekeeping or that fire truck in the block center or asking their friend to pass a color of paint at the easel.

With these choices and talking and problem solving come conflict. Remember the discussions during different themes at Circle Time where you told the children that their hands are not for hitting and that they need to share with each other and take turns? They know it, but now they need to see it in action and YOU are just the person to reinforce these concepts!

When one child takes the fire truck from another child’s hand, an argument or hurt feelings are sure to follow. We can handle this in several ways.

One way would be to take the truck, hand it back to the first child and tell the second child, “That’s not okay. So and so had it first.”

Another would be to return the truck to the first child and say, “That’s not okay. So and so is using the truck. Ask him/her if you can have a turn when they are done with it.” Now help them to do that and remember to be sure it is given to the second child when the first is done.

Let’s go to the housekeeping center. Several children are cooking and one is the obvious director of the center (yes, there is always one!). She/he is assigning roles to the other children. Here’s the conversation:

Child 1: “You be the Mommy and you be the Dad. You’re the babysitter and you be the baby.”

Child 2: “I don’t want to be the baby. I want to be the Mommy.”

Child 1: “You can’t be the Mommy. I’m the Mommy. You have to be the baby if you’re going to play with us.”

And on and on it goes! This can also be handled in several different ways.

We can tell Child 1 that they are not the boss.

Or, we can suggest that there be more than one Mommy—maybe all the Mommies are getting together to talk and cook and have fun while the babies are in the other room sleeping.

The point is that during play time, children are trying on different roles. They are trying out different materials to see how they work. It is all part of their developmental stages.

In preschool classrooms, they are developing within a larger group and therefore need to learn to share and negotiate and problem solve with others.

Up until now, they may not have had to do this with other children because they either have no siblings or there are more materials than children at home.

As Preschool teachers, we have a wonderful opportunity to utilize what appears to be “just” playing as a time to reinforce concepts such as sharing and turn-taking as well as take their language development skills and intellectual and emotional developmental to the next levels!

There is huge importance in “play”!

TIPS and TIMESAVERS: Supply Inventory Time--YUCK!

I don’t know about you, but at the end of the school year the last thing I want to do is go through cabinets, shelves and drawers and take inventory of what I’ll need for the fall! Rather than do that on your last day of school, I suggest starting now!

Write up a basic list of materials you need to order to stock up in the fall—not materials you need now but a basic supply list. This would include items such as paint, construction paper (small and large), glue, glue sticks, stickers, etc.

Just write a list. No order. No rhyme or reason. You’ll put it in some type of usable form next week! As you write it, so many items will come to mind—just keep writing them down.

Hang your list up in your classroom where you can see it. Now that you’ve started brainstorming, you’ll think of more items over the next few days to add to the list.

Next week, sit down at your computer and put your list in a basic program. I use Excel for this. List every item in the first column. Now is when you need to get detailed.

When you list paint, list every color, but list it with the word Paint first. Your list will read something like “Paint green Paint blue Paint yellow Construction Paper small yellow Construction Paper large yellow Wiggly eyes Glue Sticks” and so on.

When using Excel, you can then: Highlight Column A (which has the above list in it, one item per line), then click the word DATA in the toolbar at the top and then click SORT AZ and Voila! Your list is now in alphabetical order! Now print your list!

You have just made the last few days of school so much easier for yourself. As you pack up your materials for the summer, simply check off the items you will need in the fall and when August/September comes, you will be ready to order!

For more ideas for teachersCLICK HERE to go to the Teacher Timesavers Page

INTEREST CENTER FOCUS: Preschool Library Interest Center

What do children learn at the Preschool Library Interest Center

Of course they have access to books, however most preschoolers can not read the words! A library area can help preschoolers’ language and literacy skills in many ways!

Activities in the Library help children:

Letter and word recognition, pattern recognition, using their memory to recall familiar stories, learn proper handling of books.

How should the teacher prepare for a Preschool Library Interest Center?

Teachers can offer many items based on themes such as themed books, puppets or flannel board stories.

Materials for the Preschool Library Interest Center

The materials to have on-hand are anything that will encourage language and literacy. Here are some ideas:

Themed books—fiction and non fiction books that correspond with your current classroom theme.

Basic Concept books about the alphabet, numbers and colors. Nursery rhyme and other favorite books.

A flannel board with one or two choices of flannel board stories (change these flannel stories every 2 weeks. And they do not need to be based on a theme.

Listening Center—add a CD player with books on CD and headphones for the children to listen to stories.

Puppets to act out stories.

Bean bag chairs, pillows, carpet squares or comfy, foam furniture to sit on.

A magnet board with magnetic letters or numbers.

Paper and pencils or crayons for children to create their own books. You could also include a writing table here, but it will need supervision until the children can use writing materials without writing in books. Rules about how to treat our books should be a regular conversation with the children!

Themed Book Ideas

Below is the link to my THEMES page for theme related books.


WHAT’S NEW? Search It, Find It, Plan It at !

The following pages were added to the website since the last newsletter:

Bible Theme Pages


Transition Activity Article

Transition Activity Ideas

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,