Through research we know that young children learn primarily through play. In play children feel the freedom to try out new ideas and practice skills. As teachers plan activities and provide opportunities for children to work and play together, children learn to get along with others and to feel good about themselves. These experiences positively effect their growth and all other learning for the rest of their lives.
We believe that "readiness" for formal schooling is based on play. Children play with important math concepts as they set a table, counting to be certain there are as many place settings as children, or discover what happens when crackers are divided evenly among twelve children. Counting to twenty and recognizing numbers are also important skills, but an understanding of the concept comes through play. Children play with the concepts of reading and writing by pretending to make books, even though many of the marks they make do not yet resemble letters or collections of letters do not spell words. By dictating their own stories or messages to an adult who will write them down and read them back, children learn that their words are important and can be permanently recorded. Children play with sequence by retelling favorite stories and acting them out. Reciting the alphabet and writing letters correctly are skills adults recognize but these are only part of the process.
At Wesley early childhood staff facilitate play so that children learn to play successfully and through play gain self-confidence and an ability to cooperate with others. Also, we help children to communicate thoughts and feelings in positive ways, to accept responsibility for actions, and to make choices and initiate productive activities. Our objective is to provide opportunities for these foundations to be laid and strengthened.