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Understanding The Developmental Preschool- Art PDF Print E-mail
Written by TeacherLee   
Tuesday, 24 July 2012 02:37

Creativity is messyWhen children take part in art activities, they are expressing themselves creatively and emotionally and are learning the fine motor skills needed for writing. The learning experience is in the process rather than in the product and the focus should not be on the end result, but on the learning that was achieved by reaching that goal. In my experience, too much adult direction can be frustrating for children. Open-ended art projects help children develop confidence and independence by giving them the opportunity to make decisions themselves.

Children will start off by holding the brush, writing instrument or tool with a fist and, through the guidance of the teacher and parent, progress through to the correct pincer grip needed for writing. Early on children will start by making abstract impressions on the paper. As they progress, they observe the cause and effect of this process and learn to manipulate their environment to achieve the results they want. Younger children learn through observing older children working at the art and creativity table.

I always recommend that parents ask open-ended questions about children’s art such as “Tell me about your picture”. This is a positive approach and allows the children to feel confident about what they have produced. It is remarkable that so much is learned through art. Color, shape, number and letter recognition are all learned here, and because creative freedom is so much fun children progress quickly. The art area gives children the freedom to explore and the word mess does not exist here. Making a ‘mess’ is part of the creative expression and helps the children learn how to make order out of chaos. It is also an important lesson in cleaning up.

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Last Updated on Saturday, 08 December 2012 05:35
Understanding The Developmental Preschool- Puzzles PDF Print E-mail
Written by TeacherLee   
Monday, 16 July 2012 23:19

PuzzlesAt first, young children see the picture on the puzzle pieces. Soon, they are able to put a name to the picture. After that, they will learn the names of the colors represented on the pieces. Later, they will develop shape recognition when matching pieces and ultimately they learn to see how the parts make up the whole. Puzzles improve fine motor control and it is wonderful watching children become more dextrous over time.

By placing the pieces in the correct spaces the children gain spatial awareness, organizational skills, problem solving and abstract reasoning. Puzzles can also be used to promote visual tracking from left to right, which is an essential skill for learning to read and write. Concepts can also be introduced in the puzzles to encourage the learning of the alphabet, math skills or science concepts.

Let’s not forget the moment of triumph when a puzzle is successfully completed! All that concentration and hard work is rewarded and the excitement and sense of achievement is a wonder to behold.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 July 2012 06:14
Understanding The Developmental Preschool- Playdough PDF Print E-mail
Written by TeacherLee   
Sunday, 01 July 2012 01:36

Play-doughWhen young children use play-dough they are getting a tactile, sensory and emotionally satisfying experience and it helps children express their feelings before they are able to communicate verbally. Children of all ages can learn from play-dough and the skills they learn progress with age. With the encouragement and involvement of their parents and teacher, they gain an awareness of color as well as shape recognition from both the play-dough and the tools used to manipulate the play-dough. They also develop hand strength, dexterity and motor skills.

As time goes on, the youngest children become more adept at manipulating the play-dough as their fine motor coordination is developed through this tactile medium. The skills they develop include the ability to use individual fingers, the pincer grip (needed for holding a pen correctly), muscle control for squeezing and pounding, and ultimately fine motor control. As all these skills develop they will have more success in rolling out the dough.

The fantastic thing about play-dough is that it is also an easy medium to manipulate for young children learning to cut. While breaking up the play-dough, the small pieces can be used to learn counting skills too. Number and letter shaped cookie cutters can help build tactile math problems to solve. They can also help teach the names of the letters, and later to form these letters into words. Having children trace the letters with their fingers will help them internalize the alphabet.

You will find that children often sit at the play-dough table for long periods of time, strengthening their muscles - especially their upper body muscles.
Children never stop learning from play-dough. It is easy to make and making play-dough together teaches science skills. Play-dough is also an easy medium to store and clean up. Here is the recipe for the easy to make homemade play-dough we often have at Teacher Lee Play-To-Learn™ preschool classes.

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Last Updated on Monday, 16 July 2012 19:47
Understanding The Developmental Preschool PDF Print E-mail
Written by TeacherLee   
Tuesday, 10 July 2012 06:27

children play to learnI am often asked about what I do and why I do it. I’ve written this short primer to help you understand a little more about the ‘Teacher Lee Play-To-Learn™ Preschool' program I’ve developed over the past 20 years as an educator and a preschool teacher.

This Developmental Preschool program provides children school-readiness skills by using their environment to its best potential. Academic study will certainly be important in the future, but young children learn best through play. With this in mind, my developmental classroom is set up so that children gain kindergarten school-readiness skills through their interaction with their environment, through play, and without flashcards or drills. As school budgets become tighter and tighter, it seems the race is on to turn every two year old into a memorizing machine. This short-circuits the child’s natural mental and emotional development and as a result, unfortunately, we now see more and more children entering the mainstream school system without the basic skills they need to function and be successful in a kindergarten setting.

This unsettled me so much I decided to face the problem head on by providing a FREE mobile preschool. This offers help to ordinary families who are not poor enough to be eligible for welfare subsidies, and not wealthy enough to pay more for the excellent educational resources that exist. I want to provide families a fair start in preparing for kindergarten. However, the Teacher Lee program is so much more than just a preschool. It empowers parents to educate their children through the environment. Moms and dads who attend our sessions learn how to bring developmental learning into the home and into the everyday life of their children. They learn how to take on a central role in their child’s preparation for school. It is important to note that the Teacher Lee program is not a childcare service. We require the presence of a parent or care giver at our sessions because while our program is fun, it is not only about having fun. It is about giving parents and children a real fighting chance in a stretched and struggling school system which places far too little value in early childhood development and developmental learning.

The Teacher Lee Play-To-Learn™ Preschool classroom is set up in such a way that each area is specifically designed to accentuate different school readiness skills through play and each area aids development in different ways. It is always advisable to dress your children in old clothes so they have the freedom to explore without the constraints of having to keep clean. I really want you, the parent, to be empowered to give your child the best head start possible as they prepare to enter the school system.

Teacher Lee Play-To-Learn™ Preschool cannot run without the generosity of the community so please visit my website at and sign up to be on my mailing list and to make a donation.

Much Love,
Teacher Lee

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 October 2012 01:46
The Rich-Poor Divide Starts With Education PDF Print E-mail
Written by Teacher Lee   
Tuesday, 21 February 2012 04:06

New Research shows that money does matter when it comes to children's education. This article by Jordan Weissmann illustrates this point. I am so pleased to be able to offer Free Play-To-Learn™ Preschool classes empowering parents to educate their own children to help close the gap.


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Last Updated on Sunday, 01 July 2012 06:45
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