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Social Issues: What Can Parents Do? In preschool, children learn about the world through play. Subject areas aren’t separate in their minds or in the classroom. Children spend most of the preschool day working together with classmates. Each conversation, whether talking about the class pet or deciding which color block to put on top of their tower, helps children develop their thoughts and language. Writing often appears as scribbles in the preschool classroom, but letters or shapes that resemble letters soon pop up as children try to write their own names in creative ways. Teachers model writing for preschoolers throughout the day.
Many children will not be able to write words conventionally. However, every scribble shows that a child understands that the printed word carries messages, and that she is excited to be able to create these messages. Preschoolers use numbers every day when they count milk cartons for lunch or figure out how many children are at a table. They work with geometric shapes such as triangles, rectangles, and squares in the block center, and through art projects. They measure at the water table when they compare the size of their hands and feet. Preschool teachers invite children to arrange items in a series or pattern when they make collages and other art projects.
They learn about the world by observing and experimenting. Natural things fascinate them, from rocks, to animals, to their baby brothers and sisters. They also notice the many ways that they can influence the natural world. Preschoolers may plant seeds, or watch what happens to an ice cube in a warm room. They’ll test what sinks and what floats at the water table, and which blowers make the biggest bubbles.
Preschool social studies is where children learn about their place in the world. Understanding how to get along with others can often take up the biggest part of a preschooler’s day. Children learn how to resolve conflicts and practice skills like sharing, taking turns and cleaning up. They figure out how to express their feelings using words. The class may also explore its community and the people in it by taking short field trips around the neighborhood. They begin to form their attitudes toward school and to see themselves as learners.
I can find problems to solve. I can master a difficult task. These experiences show preschool children the power that learning holds. If you want to know how your preschooler learns at school, just think about the way she learns at home. When your child helps you measure ingredients for her favorite cookie recipe, she’s getting a math lesson. In school, preschoolers learn through play in the same ways, with the guidance of their teachers. They experiment with the properties of matter at the sand and water tables.