With all of the education options that exist for Atlanta families, what makes our Roswell private kindergarten and pre-k classes unique? At High Meadows, we include “play-based” learning in our Early Years classrooms to encourage kids to learn about the world by experimenting with it, tinkering with items found in nature and interacting with one another. Preschoolers naturally operate this way, dismantling the outdoor world and often literally “bumping heads” as they figure out how to socialize and work together. During their play, they are practicing important executive functioning skills, such as problem solving, communication and social-emotional skills.
Development of Executive Functioning Skills and Communication in Pre-Kindergarten
Recently in one of our pre-kindergarten classes, several children started working together with play-dough, hammers and various tools. Dora asks her friend about a hammer: “Can I have it? I’ll give it back.” Lula sings to herself as she creates and sculpts: “I’m making a snowman, play-dough, dough, dough. One butterfly, two butterfly.” Michael says: “Elin, can I have that?” Elin responds: “After I’m done.” Harlow, who’s watching Lula, says: “This is snowman.” Rowan asks: “Can I have a turn?” Harlow shows me: “I’m done. I did a snow. I made a snowman.” Olivia says to Lula, as Lula continues to sing: “Lula, I want you to watch this.” She then leans hard on her lump of play-dough with her torso. “Look at my play-dough! Makes it flat.”
In this play-based learning the children used a variety of executive functioning skills, particularly communication. For example:
- They requested items, listened to each other’s ideas, discussed their creations, talked about their processes and sang.
- Also, sharing the tools was a great way for them to use their social-emotional skills: they used patience and manners in asking and receiving; they remembered the importance of turn-taking; and they respected others’ desires to use the tools.
Lula used creativity in making her song. Harlow used her thinking skills as she observed what Lula was creating, listened to Lula’s song and tried to replicate a “snowman” for herself. She learned a new vocabulary word and then tried something new, presenting her “snowman” to her teacher to admire. The children also practiced their problem solving and social-emotional skills. They will continue to develop all of these skills as they grow academically and socially at High Meadows.