Our Play-Based Curriculum

School Curriculum: Learning Through Play

At the Children’s Cooperative Playschool, much of our responsibility as educators involves creating an environment that is stimulating, engaging and addresses all areas of development. We help children develop a strong sense of themselves and their uniqueness, while also fostering an on-going excitement for learning.

As a preschool, our job is to create a strong foundation for children; we strive to help children become excited, inquisitive learners. We create an atmosphere where children can learn the skills necessary to become active, engaged, and healthy members of society. Most importantly, we offer many opportunities to play, because play is the way in which children learn about the world around them. As children interact with peers and play independently, they develop important social, emotional, cognitive and motor skills. A child’s sense of self and of learning is created from her/his repeated interactions with people and objects.

Play offers children the opportunity to investigate, problem solve, create imaginative scenarios, take on roles, cooperate with peers, think independently and pose questions to learn more. It also lends them the opportunity to have fun and feel relaxed and in control of themselves. An environment that helps children feel safe will lend to more explorations and honest learning. We strive to make the school environment feel like home, so that children can feel as though it is their school. This allows them not only to explore, play, and learn freely, but also to begin learning a sense of responsibility for the space they are using.

One of the main developmental steps to be learned by preschoolers is social interaction. They need to learn how to solve problems and conflicts with peers; they must also learn to talk about different wants and needs, take turns, listen and share information, cooperate with others and develop empathy toward others. A play- based program allows these skills to be taught at numerous times throughout the day, and allows children the freedom to experiment with ways of social interaction that work best for them. We intertwine a large amount of child- directed free choice time with some Teacher directed activities. Participating in activities led by Teachers helps children practice following rules, taking turns and listening. It also helps them learn about personal space, as they have to sit in a large group and share space. Further, they learn cooperation as they are working together on something, and begin to see that a result is often better when all participants’ contributions are shared.

Articles on Play-Based Learning

"Play Plus Magical Teaching Equals the Best Preparation for School Success" Co-Op Member Kelly Reilly, published in the News & Observer

"The Decline of Play in Preschoolers and the Rise in Sensory Issues" from the Washington Post

"What I love most about the Children's Cooperative Playschool is our community. Not only do we have great teachers and kids, we have great families. We have made so many wonderful friends at school. It's a lovely community to be part of."

-K. LaFleur