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Schools play a vital role in the development of children. They are learning institutions with appropriate and relevant programs that shape and nurture the lives of the children. Appropriate programs would help developing children realize, exercise and utilize their full potentials through learning concepts that are recommended at a given age. Preschool programs should be introduced at the pre-operational stage of the child's development; a stage that a child reaches at the age of two years and lasts until the age of seven years. During the stage, the child is within the cognitive development. Notably ages three to five falls within this stage hence it would be appropriate to start offering education.
During the pre-operational stage, children have their mental representation advancing. The mental advancement at this age is coupled with a start in learning language concepts. Children at this age are in haste to grasp and master any words that they hear (Parten, 1932, p. 118). The mastery is usually accompanied by inaudible and incomprehensible sounds. In cognitive development, language concept is the most powerful and easily flexible element of the stage. Within the program, language development concept is key. The programs will have a session through which the children will be mentored in language.
In relation to language development, the program will offer different learning aids for language. The children will be left in groups to play. They will also be free to play, grasp harmless objectives and name them outdoor. The children will be individually guided through simple sound charts to enable them to recognize and master simple sounds. The program will feature cartoons which are children's favorite to help enhance sound development.
The program recommends that it be applied in a space of an eighth of an acre piece of land. Offering children in preschool enough space is key to the success of the preschool program since enough space reduces conflicts that could arise amongst the children when they play. It also limits chances of accidents occurring. Moreover, it offers sufficient ground for playing. There should be a free playing ground of about a sixteenth of an acre. This piece should be free from structures except play-aiding structures such as ramps. Within the perimeters, there should be a shade; an enclosure for children who opt out of play. Space should be dry and non-slippery.
Within the program, children are provided with toys. Toys are recommended since children can use them in multiples of games. Besides, playing different styles of games using the same toys, they improve the skills of the child in cognitive and social aspects.The toys should have different colors and shapes for different representations including animals; most of which are domestic that are familiar to the child. The incorporation of the animal toys is geared towards making the child understand the environment better (Parten, 1932, p. 120). Other toys available represents houses, cars, common machines, and human beings. The varied toys are meant to propel the recognition of a child given different objects.
The program is a mixed design in which both male and female children play together, and this then dictates diversity in nature and color of toys. Cups of different colors, sizes and shapes are also included for sand play. Additionally, a child between the age of three years and five years can dynamically visualize that one object can presume various fictional characteristics within the time of play. A stick can be a walking stick in one context and be a pen in another. This is a crucial element of a preschool development stage that should be monitored.
During the play, different types of play will be practiced to help the children develop differently and independently. Onlookers play will be recommended for three years of age to help them adapt to the playing environment. The unoccupied type will also be practiced. In this types of play, the child will be left free to make a choice. First, the child will be let to witness as others play from a distance, then allowed to move closure. By this, the onlooker and unoccupied are implemented (Parten, 1932, p. 120). Monitoring is done to evaluate whether the child will progress smoothly from being an onlooker to getting unoccupied. It should be noted that when a child becomes an unoccupied player, care is taken to see if the child will be able to speak, give direction or instructions to playing other children.
Solitary play through which a child independent play with different toys amongst other children is another type of play that is important. The child is instructed to play games using any toy of choice but forming the decision independently without influence from other children (Parten, 1932, p. 119). During this time the child can speak to others. Another type of preschool type of play is the parallel activity. Through this, a child plays independently without seeing other children. As the child develops there is a need to introduce a more complex style of play. The organized supplementary play that is carried out in the group is encouraged. This under this design of the preschool program will be carried out by children plays with cups in the sand heap. Interest will be vested to see if the children will play with organized paths and manner. Will they play in line or not? Will they help each other? Within this program design, such questions will be answered.
During the associative play, the child moves freely and interact independently with others. During filling and emptying cups with sand the game last longer with a maximum movement of the children witnessed (Parten, 1932, p. 120). The children also learn to copy and cooperate with others in filling the cups making them more interactive. This type of play not only contributes to the social and emotional development of the child but also develops the child physically and intellectually. In addition, the children learn conflict solution means.
Drawing is also integrated into the preschool designed program. Drawing gives a platform through which the children put their thoughts in writing. This forms the child's first representation which gives a picture of their mind. Painting as an element is added to the drawing so as to improve the creativity of the child's mind. The program includes counting as a mathematical ability through which they practice their ability to solve problems involving a given number of items provided.
Vygotsky summarized that make-believe play supports various competencies of a child. Moreover, make-believe forms the base for proximal development, which improves and widens the cognitive and social skills of the children. Pretending is important in developing the speech in young children. Children who involve frequently in socio-dramatic play show more positive development in class rules and in dealing with their emotions than those who rarely take part in socio-dramatic plays. According to Vygotsky, pretending in preschool has social origin just like other cognitive processes.
Neo-Piagetian theory validates the stages that Piaget proposed. However, the theory views the changes within the stages of development and movement of stages to a different cause. According to Neo-Piagetian, changes occur when the limited memory capacity of the child increases in efficiency. This then leads to the social, physical, intellectual and emotional improvement of the child.
Parten, M. B. (1932). Social participation among pre-school children. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 27(3), 243.
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