Pre-school classrooms are typically buzzing hives of activity and though the atmosphere might appear chaotic, don’t be fooled. Activities are targeted and play is structured, for learning in Early Years education is crucial in setting a solid base for children before they enter Primary School.
A child’s capacity to learn accelerates between the ages of three and five – their vocabulary grows extensively, from around 1,000 to 2,500 words, and so language and cognitive skills come to the fore. Play is integral. It’s one of the main ways in which children learn – make it fun, and they will engage in what they’re doing, concentrate and focus better.
With this in mind, the pre-school classroom has to be an exciting learning environment, full of stimulation and inspiration. At Hope Education, we have a range of resources perfect for engaging curious little minds.
Sand and water play
Playing with sand and water enables children to get messy and have huge amounts of fun. These kinds of activities also act as an early introduction to science and maths – children can pour, measure and weigh, mix sand and water together and see how consistencies change.
Blocks are popular toys, from toddlers upwards. In Early Years education, pre-schoolers can build structures and fit the blocks together. They can learn about different shapes and colours, and grasp basic matching, counting and sorting concepts.
Jigsaws are ideal for encouraging problem solving, developing logic and ordering.
If children work in pairs or small groups they can begin to understand the basics of communication and teamwork, sharing and co-operation. Puzzles also assist in developing fine motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination.
Arts and crafts
The pre-school classroom should have an extensive range of arts and crafts equipment – paints, pens, crayons, brushes, cardboard, tracing paper, glue, scissors, textiles of various material, play dough and so on. Drawing, painting, tracing, sticking and cutting stimulates creativity but also muscle control.
Dolls, clothes and props
Dolls allow children to express themselves and their feelings, which otherwise might not be shared, and also to indulge their imagination. A wardrobe of dressing up clothes is important too. Children can dress as firemen, policemen, shop workers and other professions, and get involved in role play activities, practising verbal skills.
Computers and IT
Even pre-school children are now commonly very comfortable with the use of a computer, laptop or iPad, instinctively knowing what to do when presented with a tablet. Access to computing and technology resources is important, so that children can become accustomed to the wide range of learning games and activities available online. Again, with some classrooms only having a limited number of tablets and laptops available, teamwork and sharing are promoted.
A pre-school classroom equipped with these items will provide the perfect atmosphere for play-based learning and development. To view all these resources and more, view our Early Yearssection.