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Bolstering My Children's Education

Once we started homeschooling our kids, I noticed that they started to struggle more with concentration. In addition to making it hard to get through a lesson, they also lost interest in some of their favorite subjects--presumably because we weren't teaching them as well as their favorite teachers. Fortunately, a friend of ours told us about some great homeschooling educational tools that might be able to help. We invested in some new textbooks and a few updated visual aids, and it made a tremendous difference. Read this blog to find out how to bolster your child's education, even if you teach them at home.

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Bolstering My Children's Education

The Importance Of Unstructured Play Time for Kindergartners

by Fred Peters

When deciding which school's kindergarten would be best for your child, one point to consider is how much time these schools allow for unstructured play. Early childhood education, including kindergarten, has increasingly become more like a typical classroom setting compared with the less structured environment of years past. A stronger focus on academic achievement is behind that change. Yet it's important that kids don't have all their kindergarten time micromanaged, as there are numerous benefits to unstructured play. 

Important Brain Development

Engaging in natural play on playgrounds leads to positive developmental changes in young brains in ways that more passive learning activities do not. Those positive changes are essential for proper formation of the brain's executive control center. That part of the brain is involved in solving problems and in setting and achieving goals.

Self-Regulation

Playing without close adult supervision and interference allows children to learn a sense of control. That builds their confidence as they test boundaries and try new activities. 

Interestingly, children who have more time for free play tend to show more self-regulation in school. They are able to complete assignments without prodding from teachers, and they are less prone to goofing off instead of behaving responsibly during class.

Social Interaction

Unstructured play helps kids learn to socialize without being managed by adults. They can practice concepts they've been taught, such as sharing and working as a team, without prompting from parents and teachers. They build friendships and healthy emotional attachments. This type of interaction in kindergarten is crucial when it's the child's main source of socializing with others of the same age. 

Natural Problem Solving

Consider a game such as hide-and-seek. Everyone in the game indulges in problem solving to a certain degree. Some children try to find the best possible places to stay hidden, while the seeker thinks creatively to figure out where they might be. Learning to solve problems more effectively over time is a hallmark of natural play activity.

Physical Health

Plenty of physical activity burns off excess energy and allows children to sit calmly in school when they need to. It also burns off calories and prevents unhealthy weight gain. It's true that organized athletic games managed by teachers help young children get some exercise. However, organized games often involve a fair amount of time when some of the kids are not actively involved. They might be sitting on a bench or waiting to take a turn. 

In contrast, simple games that kindergarten-age kids spontaneously engage in often keep everyone involved. For example, tag involves all the children running around. 

Also, when let loose on a playground, children practice a broad range of physical skills. They climb ladders, jump from platforms and swing on swings. They build muscle strength and coordination while playing on jungle gyms.

A Love of Learning

You naturally want your child to enjoy learning. Having to attend a school where there's little to no time just for unorganized fun is not conducive to that goal. The best kindergarten programs are the ones children look forward to attending every day, and having time to play is an important part of that. 

What You Can Do Now

As you visit different schools, ask the teachers about how much time children are allowed for play that isn't part of a managed program. Spend enough time at the schools so you can evaluate whether the environment is heavily structured or whether the kids have plenty of time for pursuing their own interests. Look over the schedule to see how many recess sessions there are and how long the lunch breaks last. With the information you gather through these activities, you'll get an excellent sense of which kindergarten program is best for your child. Contact a company like Triple R Child Care to get started.

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