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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Preschool II

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Preschool II

In the Preschool II classroom, children are provided opportunities to learn and grow by engaging in creative, open-ended, hands-on, active play experiences.  Our environment and routine is designed in a way that allows children to explore materials individually or in small groups, and as freely and naturally as possible throughout the course of the day.  Equipment, toys, and materials are organized into interest areas, called learning centers, that are especially created to encourage natural curiosity and a desire to learn.  Research has shown that when children are engaged in play of their own interest, they are working at their optimum level of learning.  Thus, materials in each learning center change with the children's interests and learning needs.  Some examples of learning centers in our classroom include the block center, the dramatic play center, the library, the writing center, and the game center.

While playing in each of these learning centers, children are learning how to successfully interact with others.  Teachers are present to help the children learn how to recognize, label, and regulate their emotions; cooperate and negotiate with others; resolve conflicts and solve problems that they encounter; and understand that others may have different ideas, feelings, or viewpoints.  The development of these social-emotional skills is critical to developing higher level thinking skills and lays the foundation for the next step in the future of these children - kindergarten.

Each learning center is equipped with a variety of material, activities, and opportunities that foster development of many skills.  On any given day in the Preschool II room, you may see children:

  • Practicing prewriting skills and expressing themselves by:  exploring and manipulating playdough, drawing or creating with crayons, markers, colored pencils, paint, and glue; stringing beads or working on perler bead projects; building with various blocks, such as legos and wood blocks; scooping and pouring sand or water in the sensory table or outdoors
  • Practicing self-help skills:  while putting on and taking off clothes in the dress-up center; putting away the toys they play with; dishing up food onto their plates and pouring their drink at meals; learning and using the proper hand-washing techniques; communicating their needs and wants
  • Practicing language skills by talking with their peers and teachers while playing, at meals, and during group times; reading books and being read to; retelling a personal story
  • Practicing pre-reading skills by participating in our 'question of the day;' engaging in fingerplays and music and movement games; learning to recognized their name and the name of their friends; using an object to represent something else, such as using a block as a phone
  • Learning math skills by playing board games, such as UNO or Candyland; by estimating how many more blocks will be needed to finish the construction of their tower or fort,