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The book study blog party has begun!

blog partyWe are participating in a “Book Study Blog Party” organized by Vanessa at Pre-K Pages. Several early childhood bloggers (including us) will be discussing chapters of the book “Literacy Beginnings” by Gay Su Pinnell and Irene C. Fountas. I read the first 4 chapters today and took some notes. Here are some of my thoughts on the first 2 chapters.

Chapter 1: “Growing up Literate”

What struck me the most about this chapter was that the authors emphasized the importance of incorporating literacy experiences throughout the prekindergarten classroom. A lot of it reinforced much of what we already are doing at the program that I work for.

But one section of the chapter that discusses the essential role of play in learning (pg. 27) really hit home for me. As early childhood educators, we KNOW that children learn through play. The authors talk about the current trend that is “pushing the play out of kindergarten”. As a parent of a recent kindergartener, I can attest that this trend is real. In the 10 years since my oldest child attended kindergarten to this past year for my youngest; the kindergarten curriculum has definitely changed, and more seems to be expected. My daughter would come home from her kindergarten morning and say things like “they have blocks there, but they never let us play with them.” And in defense of the kindergarten teachers … they are no longer afforded the TIME to play. In a half day kindergarten setting, the curriculum has expanded (what is expected to be taught) – but the time in which to do it has not.

Now, my daughter learned a great deal in kindergarten (her teacher was wonderful). But I am glad that she also had the benefit of coming to the afternoon “kindergarten” session at the preschool program where I work a few days a week. This environment allowed her the freedom to explore the learning centers as she wished, and allowed her more opportunities to socialize and play. And let me say … she came home with many more writing and story projects from the preschool program – all of which she chose to do on her own!

There is much more to learn from Chapter 1 – head on over to Pre-K Pages to get a full chapter 1 overview.

Chapter 2: “Building a Community of Learners”

This chapter talks about building a sense of community in a preschool classroom comprised of children with “unique personalities and different strengths, abilities, interests, and temperaments”. For many children, preschool is the first time for them to have to function as a member of a large group. They need to learn the social skills to navigate their way through this experience; and a high-quality prekindergarten program will help to guide them through.

Some of the ways the authors discussed building a sense of community include circle time games and involving children in decision making, (such as creating the classroom rules). A lot of this is common practice for many programs, but the book also provides a great list of circle time games that work towards building a sense of community (pg. 33).

Chapter 2 was reviewed extensively by Deborah at Teach Preschool, so definitely pop on over!.

And yes, I really was able to read 4 chapters of the book sitting by the pool! Gotta love the summer!

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