Children are hard at work when they play. Through play, children develop their imagination, dexterity, cognitive and emotional abilities. As they playfully interact with their surroundings they practice conquering fears, develop new competencies, learn to negotiate, resolve conflicts, increase vocabulary, and begin to define themselves as individuals separate from others.
Early Literacy in the Classroom
By the time they start preschool, most children are familiar with books and are used to being read to.
The book-making activity introduces the concept that books are created by people, and that children themselves can be creators of books.
Authors use letters, words, and pictures to share their stories. Children can also share stories using the same tools. This puts the alphabet and writing in to a context that they can easily relate to, and sets the stage for literacy.
During the Inventor activity, Nico had the idea to create a feather shooter, and worked at it for a while. His idea was not working out as he imagined. He came to Martha and told her his problem and his idea. Martha simply repeated his idea back to him, and repeated his question, "what can I use to move this feather out of here into the air?" Nico just needed to hear it said by someone else, and bingo--he had it. He tried his idea and it worked!
Nico's struggle with the feather shooter is a great example of the value of facing a challenge. Executing his vision was not easy; Nico got frustrated and asked for help. Instead of doing it for him, Martha gave him encouragement, and in the end Nico made the shooter work by himself.
Struggling with a challenge and being successful is an important process for building self-confidence. Giving children appropriate challenges in a supportive environment is a key component of Skytown's philosophy.