Learning Through Play
What we adults and parents sometimes find hard to understand is that, as far as a baby or a young child is concerned, there is no distinction between play and work, and play and learning. No child has to be taught to play. Most children’s games involve an element of learning. Therefore adults should take playtime seriously and make available to their children the toys that help learning and introduce the child to playtime activities that promote learning.
At B.U.N.S. the children are given the opportunity of discovering the qualities and uses of materials by experimenting and exploring – through concrete experience – the DOING is what counts, not the end result. Never compare your child’s work with another. The young person who is absorbed in play is the happy person who eventually is going to be a productive and dedicated worker.
The teachers are skilled in observation for a child is unable to always describe his feelings himself. The way he plays and behaves reveals and reflects his inner feelings. Observation also reveals to the teacher your child’s strengths and weaknesses in the different areas of development and she can then guide you as to what your child needs. The teachers look at all areas of gross motor development, of fine motor development, of emotional and social development.
We only believe half of what your child tells us about his home life – please only believe half of what he tells you about school!! Truth and fantasy are not yet clearly defined in the mind of a young child.
Each child develops at his own pace and it is imperative both the teacher and parent recognize this and adapt their approaches to the needs of the child. I always liken a child to a peach on a tree – no matter how much attention, food etc. you give that tree, the peach will only ripen in its own good time – and it is the same with the child. If you picked the greenish peach and tried to force it to ripen quickly, it would be spoilt. Just so, if you try to “force” a child to display behaviour and learning that is too advanced, you will “spoil” the child. He’s ready when he’s ready, don’t hurry him up, don’t force him to learn to read or write if he is not ready. If he doesn’t want to colour in, leave him to play. Our children have enough time ahead of them to do pencil and paper tasks. No amount of coaxing or coaching will hurry up the maturing process. So the teachers aim to:
*develop a child’s self-esteem and sense of achievement
*encourage the child to express his/her feelings
*provide the child with a secure environment
*encourage the child to be able to cope with fears, anxieties and difficult experiences
No corporal punishment is ever administered to any child in our school. When a child misbehaves and he needs a little discipline or time to think about what he/she has done, we use the “time-out” method. The child has a few minutes to sit in a special place alone – either on the “sad chair” in the classroom or on the step outside the Staff room if it is during playtime. After a few minutes the teacher then speaks to the child and he goes off to play. The child is encouraged to think about what he has done and in this way to exercise self-discipline and self-control.
One rule stands firm: no child should be permitted to harm another or to hurt himself or damage property.