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What should I expect from my daugther's Pre-K school?
It sounds to me as though her early childhood program is doing a great job—along with what you must be doing with her at home. Please don’t separate “playtime” and “learning time” in your mind. Children learn best—and they probably learn the most—in play situations. Pre-kindergarten play is full of opportunities for learning-appropriate social behavior (how to share, take turns, make friends), for allowing emotional expression to become more controlled (taking disappointment without a tantrum), and for acquiring intellectual skills and new information (learning sizes and shapes, gauging amounts such as more or less, solving problems such as finding the right size and shape for a puzzle piece or the correct block to complete a building structure, developing and using new vocabulary). That kind of play is so full of learning we can’t begin to describe it all, and a good early childhood program will consist mainly of such carefully planned play activities. You’ll find more reassurance in my article on this Web site, “Playing for Keeps: the Seriousness of Play to Little Children.”
Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell Ph.D. Professor of Pediatrics in Child Development and Education