The Importance of Play in Kindergarten...

Do you know that play was considered one of the most important aspects of kindergarten by some of the earliest proponents of the kindergarten system? You may not realize that because many “mainstream” kindergarten programs are so focused on structured learning opportunities that they minimize, or even eliminate, the opportunities for children to play and explore. However, the true purpose of kindergarten, and the reason that preschool education became part of the transition between at-home or daycare environments and formal learning environments was to promote the social, emotional, and intellectual development that playing with or near peers could promote. At Alpine Montessori, we use the Montessori approach to incorporate the play tradition of kindergarten. What this means is that we take a child-centered, student-directed approach to education, which helps children explore and develop their base, while providing a non-competitive foundation for the kinds of friendships that can last a lifetime. If you ask modern teachers about the problems they encounter with students, over and over again you will hear teachers discuss behavior. In fact, it is this social aspect of the school environment that often gets lost in a frenzy over standardized tests results and achievement scores. However, this social aspect is one of the most important functions of the school environment; teaching people how to be productive members of society. Kindergarten is a critical part of this learning experience because it is the first time that many children are exposed to larger peer groups and get the opportunity to learn social group dynamics. That is why we believe social education is as important as learning reading, writing, and arithmetic. Montessori is designed to meet children’s cognitive, neurological, and emotional needs by emphasizing social connections and refusing to place children in competition with one...