Why a play-based preschool? There are many options for preschool. The information on this page is designed to help you learn more about play-based preschool as you decide what type of program is best suited for your child and your family.
At Paddington, all children begin the day with choice time. This free playtime allows them to choose any activity that is offered in the classroom . Paddington teachers act as facilitators in the classroom, supporting children’s play. Children learn through play and all subjects (Play, Social Emotional, Physical – Fine Motor & Gross Motor, Language, Cognitive, Literacy, Math, Science, Social Studies, Creative and English Language Acquisition) are woven into the day through integrated curriculums.
Our school is child-centered, which is demonstrated inside and outside the classroom. We use developmentally appropriate practices and consider the age and stage of each child before planning any activity. At Paddington, the process is valued over the product and we encourage children to dive in and get messy. Paddington is a joyful learning environment within a nurturing community of teachers and families. We encourage children to take risks and try things that make them reach just outside their comfort zone and we encourage them to go to the next level of learning to further their understanding of the world.
Read on to learn more about how play-based learning “looks” for each age and stage at Paddington and scroll to the bottom of this page for further research on the play-based preschool philosophy.
Our Play-based Creative Explorations Program (Under Two/Parent-Tot):
Creative Explorations is a program designed for toddlers and a caregiver (mom, dad, nanny, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends). This one-morning-a-week program introduces your toddler (twelve-months to twenty-three months) to preschool at Paddington Station.
Adults are provided with a supportive, nurturing, and educational environment. You will be given an opportunity to discuss childhood growth and development, as well as share the joys and hurdles of parenthood and caregiving. The teacher will provide articles, book ideas and fun things to do at home to enrich your experience with your child. This class gives children and their families an introduction to all that is Paddington. Prepare to get messy and have fun together!
Our Play-based Two-Year-Old Classrooms:
Even before the children walk into the classroom, the environment is considered and prepared with two-year-olds in mind. We have many cars for driving, many spatulas for flipping play dough and many babies to wash in the water table. Teachers always say, “There’s enough for everyone.”
Our two-year-old program is often the first school experience for many children. We give them the time they need to warm up to their classroom, teachers and new classmates. We know this is a time of transition and that separation can be a difficult process for both parents and children alike. We are here to support you with the process. Children are encouraged to bring a comfort item to school and we plan home visits for all children new to Paddington. Just prior to the first day of school, children are invited to visit their classroom and attend a class social for the entire family. By the time school begins, it our hope that families and children are comfortable with the school setting. Children learn what it means to go to school, the daily routine in a classroom and how to cultivate new friendships!
Our Play-based Three-Year-Old Classrooms:
Our three-year-old program is an engaging hands-on experience. Many three-year-olds know what school is all about and they are happy to dive right into the school routine. They greet each day with joy and curiosity as their sense of independence grows. They come in each day asking a million questions as they try to figure out their world. Our teachers are skilled at encouraging children to think for themselves.
Three-year-olds are introduced to shared experience time during which all children work on a similar project or skill. Language begins to broaden as new words are learned and ‘tried on for size’. Three-year-olds are naturally drawn to the writing table with a multitude of different writing instruments from markers and crayons to scissors and colored pencils. Math begins to intrigue three-year-olds, and they start to count everything in their world. Charting and graphing eye color or ‘favorite kind of apple’ are some examples of how we use meaningful contexts to teach children about math.
Our Play-based Four-Year-Old Classrooms (PreK):
PreK classes at Paddington continue to follow a play-based philosophy. Children explore and learn through play during choice time. Students always have time to play in the dramatic play area, the block areas, and often incorporate math, literacy, art, science and sensory activities into their experience. PreK classes at Paddington include emerging literacy into the day through song, rhyme, and alphabet exploration.
Children are recognizing letters and are beginning to write their names. They use emerging language skills to draw letters in salt, sand and shaving cream, learning letters within a meaningful context. Four-year-olds are exposed to a variety of quality children’s literature on a daily basis through rich author studies and integrated units. Pre-K math includes learning number sense, counting, basic geometry (shapes) and patterns.
Our Play-based Kindergarten:
Kindergarten at Paddington Station is a classroom that combines learning-through-play and an integrated curriculum that follows the British Primary Model. Thematic units are thoughtfully prepared to weave in all learning areas, while incorporating Colorado Content Standards.
Articles of interest pertaining to the playbased philosphy:
- The Marcon Study
- The New Preschool is Crushing Kids
- What Kids Need From Grown-Ups (But Aren’t Getting)
- Let the Kids Learn Through Play
- Play and Child Development
- The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds
- The Role of Play in Social-Intellectual Development
- Why What You Learned in Preschool Is Crucial at Work
- The Role of Pretend Play in Children’s Cognitive Development
- Raising Intelligent, Self-Reliant Kids
- Lessons Found in the Mud
- DELTA Sky Magazine Highlights Play
- Facing the Screen Dilemma: Young Children, Technology and Early Education
- Taking Playtime Seriously
- Playful Language and Communication