Never have I heard anyone say “Wow! That is a solid foundation!” about a newly constructed home. People are often in awe of the finished product, a house visually upright with all of the finishing touches. However, the foundation that supports this new structure is crucial to its longevity and is a vital step in the construction process.
This same idea holds true for early childhood education.
Establishing a solid foundation for a young boy during his early childhood years is crucial to future success, whether it be academically in the third grade or working in the corporate world down the road. Brain research shows that it is of utmost importance for children to be given opportunities to develop positive and caring relationships and to experience childhood as long as possible. Developmentally appropriate practices in early childhood promote opportunities to explore, experience, create, interact, play, and, most importantly, to learn how to learn with intentional guidance from educators, parents and other influential adults in a child’s life.
With these developmentally appropriate objectives in mind, play is the most efficient tool for young learners, especially boys. Their brains are absorbing a vast amount of information at an astoundingly high rate. Play allows boys to experience multiple objectives simultaneously, to make sense of their world in the most imaginative ways, to have visual experiences, use language, identify feelings, and move! Boys need action oriented, competitive type learning situations in order to be challenged and to begin developing their academic, social and emotional skills.
Erika Christakis describes play in her book, The Importance of Being Little, “as the most reliable and time tested way to make learning visible. The repetitive and call-and-response nature of social play….brings these dynamic thought processes to the surface.”
At PDS, our teachers strive to bring learning to the surface for each boy. Boys are encouraged to think deeply and critically and to be creative. PDS teachers plan with boys and developmentally appropriate practices in mind, from the smallest learning center to the overall structure of the week. They weave play, movement, creativity and exploration into every aspect of the curriculum and create a research based environment that will impact every boy.
Our goal at PDS is for each boy’s foundation to be a “wow factor,” to be as vital as a foundation for a newly constructed home, and to set each boy up for a lifetime of learning and success.