Meg's Top Ten Preschool List
1. Plan every minute. Do not allow for "free" time. Yes, kids can play but it should be guided. Trust me on this. Do not allow 3 year olds to "play" without some serious guidelines. They must be taught to play. I did not know this before, but it is true.
Set out one or two things for the kids to play with during 'play time'. Then, either show them how to play with it or give them a scenario. For example, when we talked about inventions (this was with my 3 year old class) we talked about men and women who solved problems. They made new things out of parts of old things to solve hard problems, gave examples, showed pictures, read a book etc. Then, at play time I put out wooden blocks and tiny plastic horses. I told them that these horses have a problem. It rains on their heads at night and gets all of their hay wet. Can you help solve their problem? Then I let them play for 15 minutes. Some of the kids took right to the building of a stable of some sort. Some just played with the blocks and some with just the horses, that was fine. I didn't interfere other than to compliment each kid in a different way "oh look how kind Savannah was to Brooke, she gave her the gray horse even though Savannah had it first!" "I love how Addy made a roof on her stable, that will keep the hay dry" etc. I did not really care if all the kids got the invention thing. The point was they had been given a way to play. They had been instructed and had a purpose. Trust me on this one. Free reign of the toys with a group is a recipe for disaster especially if you are rotating homes. What happens is the kid whose house it is gets the short end of the stick because they have to share EVERYTHING. It is their stuff, afterall. but, if they have a guided purpose for play time, sharing isn't as much a factor, neither is boredom or wandering around into bathrooms and such.