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The Different Stages of Play and Social Development

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Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

When I observe the children at the childcare center, I see many different types of play going on.  These are the stages all children go through as they grow from infancy on. Although some children at any age may watch and play by themselves, the children usually follow these steps of development as they learn social skills and how to interact with other children.

ONLOOKER OR OBSERVANT PLAY

In the infant room, the babies crawl around, find a toy and put it in their mouths.  Then they may sit up and just look around at the other babies but not interact with each other, although one baby may try to take a toy from another.  This is the first stage of play.  The babies are beginning to notice what is around them, as they explore their environment.

 

courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

SOLITARY PLAY

As babies grow and begin to walk, they continue to explore their environment and start to experiment with items they can control with their hands.  (This is the time to child proof your house!)  They learn cause and effect as they dump out a box of toys to see how they spill all over the floor, push a ball to see it roll, or press buttons on a toy to hear it play music or other sounds. Young toddlers tend to play by themselves, even if they are in a room with others.

PARALLEL PLAY

As the children grow and start to become more observant of others around them, they often are seen sitting or running around together but not really directly interacting with each other.  They may sit side-by-side doing a puzzle, push trains or cars on the floor, look at books independently or build with blocks without involving each other in their play.

ASSOCIATIVE PLAY

This is seen in most preschool classrooms or playground.  Children begin to interact with each other while they play in the dramatic play area pretending to make a meal and serve it to each other, they may look at a book together and talk about the pictures or play in the sandbox together.  This is the age that the children learn to socialize, share and develop friendships.  They communicate about what they are doing and invite others to join them.

 

photo from c. andrews

photo from c. andrews

COOPERATIVE PLAY

I see this going on everyday with the older children at the center who are going to kindergarten in the fall. During the outside time they create some very structured, organized play.  They create racecar games, become transformers, or super heroes. It is interesting to see who the leaders are.  The leader will tell the others the idea he or she has planned and tells the others what their part of the plan will be.  This stage the children work together as they plan their play or build a grand city using blocks and other props.

If you get a chance to observe children, watch and listen to the way they interact with each other.  It is fascinating to see the exchange of ideas as they learn to cooperate and socialize with each other.  Children need a chance to play with other children around their same age to develop the skills necessary to be able to communicate well with others as they grow.

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What will my child need to bring to kindergarten?

image from freedigitalphotos.net

image from freedigitalphotos.net

One of my followers asked advise of what kind of school supplies can she get as a gift for her niece, who will be starting kindergarten soon. Well Ashley, and everyone else, I have been researching this question and I found out most schools will either collect money from each family to purchase what supplies the teachers want, have supplies already available for each student, or they will provide a detailed list of what they want each child to have.

There are always the basic supplies every child needs for school, either to bring with them or to have available at home for homework.  Yes, even many kindergarten children will have homework!  Below are a few standard items that each child may possibly need.

  • A backpack large enough to fit a 9 x 12 folder (some prefer not wheeled)

    image from freedigitalphotos.net

    image from freedigitalphotos.net

  • Box of crayons
  • Box of colored markers (washable)
  • Box of colored pencils (already sharpened)
  • Bottle of white school glue
  • Glue sticks
  • #2 pencils (already sharpened)
  • A pencil eraser
  • A pencil sharpener (handheld type)
  • Child size scissors (blunt but not plastic)
  • Shoe box type container for storing supplies in
  • Multi colored pack of construction paper
  • Pocket folders
  • Lunch box if they need to bring lunch
  • Large box of tissues (children use a lot of these)

Every kindergarten teacher has their own preference to what supplies they want the children in the classroom to have.  What ever you need to purchase, be sure the child’s name is on everything they take to school.  It will help clear up some of the confusion over glue bottles or a box of crayons.

I have listed a few links to websites that can help parents in their quest for school supplies.

http://www.parentsconnect.com/parenting-your-kids/parenting-kids/learning-and-school/school-supplies-for-kids/school_supplies_k-2nd.html

http://voices.yahoo.com/top-10-essential-school-supplies-kindergarten-6559656.html

http://www.education.com/files/static/se-backtoschool/shopping-list-kindergarten.pdf

School will be starting soon, and many kindergarten children might feel scared and intimidated by the older children.  As I mentioned in previous blogs, help your children be prepared, show them the classroom, read stories about going to school and be positive and upbeat about sending them off to kindergarten.  Does this help?

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Is your Child Ready for Kindergarten?

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Image from office.microsoft.com

Is my child ready for kindergarten?

This is a question many parents ask.  With the high standards for kindergarten, many early childhood teachers are happy about the new age requirements to start kindergarten.  Check out www.teachingfirst.net to see the standards for California.

The Kindergarten Readiness act of 2010 for California has changed the entry age into kindergarten to be 5 years old.  The 2013-2014 school year the cut off date is October 2nd, which means the child must be 5 before October 2 to be eligible for a regular kindergarten program.  Next school year, 2014-2015, the cut off date will be September 2nd.  Check out www.cde.ca.gov for a better understanding of the Kindergarten Readiness Act with the FAQ page.

The school districts now offer a Transitional Kindergarten program for the fall birthdays that are not old enough for the regular kindergarten.  This year the child must be having their 5th birthday between October 2nd and December 2nd.  Next year it will be September 2nd through December 2nd.

Age is one ingredient for school readiness, but being socially, emotionally and physically ready are very important too.  A quality preschool program that stresses social learning through play is a proven factor in getting children ready for Kindergarten.  Children must learn how to communicate with others, follow directions, share and play well with others.  Being able to separate from mom and dad without fears and tears is a good sign of being emotionally ready. Also children also need to be physically ready for kindergarten by being able to take care of their own bathroom needs (buttons and zippers), be able to hold pencils and cut with scissors.Most good preschool programs will help children develop these skills as the children interact and play together.  Children learn while they play!

There are many great webpages with tips on getting your child ready for kindergarten on the web.  Just Google kindergarten readiness and see what comes up.  Next time you are surfing the web check out a few of my favorite blog and websites: 123kindergarten.com, mamasmiles.com and familyeducation.com.

Happy surfing!

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Welcome!

Hello everyone and welcome to my new blog/website! I’m just getting things set up, but check back weekly for posts, insights, thoughts and a look into my world – the world of children, education, development and family!

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In the mean time, make sure you check out Molly Goes to Preschool at Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com or the AuthroHouse bookstore.  I’m also on Twitter and Facebook – be sure to follow and Like me!