What a difference play makes 

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Castro Valley Parent Nursery School uses and fosters a play-based learning curriculum. But what does that mean, exactly? To help provide some insight, here’s a brief introduction to the myriad advantages of a play-based school. We believe a play-based model is the best way to help children learn and grow in a supportive, healthy, and enriching way. Here’s why:

Playing = learning. For preschoolers, playing is a vital form of learning. It helps them understand how to interact with the world around them (both physically and socially). The “learning by doing” method has long been shown to help children learn new concepts best. While it may look like fun to us adults (and it certainly is!), students at CVPNS are deeply engaged in learning throughout the school day. It might not look like it because they aren’t doing worksheets every day, but the children are learning through play the things they need to learn in preschool to be most successful in kindergarten. The materials here are not just random toys…the materials, environment, and curriculum are carefully chosen to be purposeful around learning preschool skills. For example, children building blocks together are also learning about math, engineering, problem-solving, and social skills as they work together or side by side.

Getting motivated. As the parents of young children, we all know the struggles of getting up in the morning, let alone getting our children fed, dressed, and out the door. With a play-based school, children look forward to each new day and the excitement and independence it brings. Since children are naturally motivated to play, a play-based school harnesses these natural tendencies to help them learn and develop in a setting they are already primed to enjoy. This system allows them develop strong, positive feelings towards school, something we can all agree is a worthwhile goal!

Social skills. Another key component of a play-based curriculum is the development of social skills. Building strong social skills has always been important, and even more so today in a world that is highly team-based at all levels (up to, and including, the modern workplace). More importantly, building social skills helps children learn how to create and sustain lasting friendships and relationships later on in life, leading to greater levels of happiness. Each day, children learn how to recognize emotions in themselves and others, what to do about it, how to best express their feelings, and how to be empathetic toward others. There are large stretches of self-directed playtime where children get to practice these skills instead of merely sitting at a desk and with directed activities changing every 20 minutes.

The social aspect of CVPNS applies to parents as well. As a co-op, parents work with one another at the school and during events and meet monthly for in-depth, educational classes. This process helps build a stronger community, as you suddenly have a wider network of friends and familiar faces to share ideas with or just run into at the park.

The most important thing. Ultimately, we all want our children to learn, grow, and find happiness doing it. CVPNS’ play-based model provides all three of these vital components. We should all be so lucky to have so much fun while learning!

If you’re interested in learning more about CVPNS, we have an upcoming open house on Saturday, March 5th, from 10am-noon. You can register for the open house here. We’d love to see you there!

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