Maybe I’ll just go on the record to say that I’m pretty “old school” when it comes to some things. One of the things I’m “old school” about is in my thoughts that unless a child practices a skill…uses a skill…they really won’t make positive progress with that skill. Which is why each day I have activities planned for group/calendar, fine motor, sensory/science, art, math/numeracy, phonological awareness, scissors, etc One early childhood philosophy out there is to let the children play and make their own choices all the time and they’ll learn what they need to during the course of their play. So then we try to pull the children to do a certain activity within their center of choice. Well, hmmm. I believe that play is the child’s “work”. I believe they learn best through play. But you know what…if there is a choice of playing in sensory or with dramatic play all day (not necessarily using the materials we put there to encourage a certain type of skill exploration) vs. working at a table with a fine motor activity or doing an art project …there are going to be some children who will choose the sensory/dramatic play and vice versa. So my feeling is there needs to be a good balance. And especially since in Kindergarten children will have to do a center rotation I find it very beneficial for preschoolers to learn how to deal with this scenario also. So yes, we have free play but we also have planned activities that all children participate in, even if only for a few moments. And when I plan those activities, I keep in mind children’s interest but reality is that we do have to do things we don’t want to do…even in Kindergarten and especially in adulthood. So thus my expectation is that each child try each activity and the neat thing is that most children become interested in the activity even if they wouldn’t have necessarily chose it on their own. I very seldom have uninterested students. They truly benefit from the experience. However, about once a month or so I just set various activities out…typically a “sensory day” with the idea that the children can choose what they work with and for how long. Well, today, H. chose to play with the slime for over an hour. K. went ahead and did another sensory activity but was soon back at the slime. J
So, obviously slime was a hit. :-) Simple to make...1/2 C of Elmer's glue, 1/2 C liquid starch, food coloring makes a perfect amount for an individual child.