Why Play?

Parents, caregivers and educators often think of play as the “child’s work.” Unlike “adult work”, children benefit from adult support (scaffolding) to experience rich, flexible and robust play ideas and experiences. Research indicates that “play” is important for healthy brain development, and through their play experiences, children engage and interact with the world.

Parents and caregivers are a child’s first “toy.” Our interactions and responses help a child engage with the world in a caring, responsive, and co-regulated way. Simple reactions to a baby’s sounds, coos and smiles are the foundation for playful engagement. For example, playing simple games such as peek-a-boo and hide-and-seek can help a child begin to anticipate, sequence, and have some control of their experiences.

Toys are important for exploration and the development of representational and symbolic play. Playtime with toys, games, books and peers lead to important problem solving skills. However, parents, caregivers and peers continue to be an important part of the foundation for growth. It is through shared ideas that a child develops and grows toward higher levels of cognitive thought.

Play allows a child to use their creativity while developing imagination as well as cognitive, emotional, and physical strengths. Play can also give children mastery over difficult feelings through a safe world of make believe. These feelings are normal. It is the adult who can acknowledge the feelings and then help in a safe way to incorporate them into play. The child feels powerful and safe because of the adult’s support and limit setting.

The narratives we help our children build from infancy help them to engage in a robust way with their world. It is important to support their imagination and to help them develop the social back and forth skills needed in play, in relationships, and in learning.

Micki Somerman
Educator and Developmental Therapist

Beth Osten & Associates, Pediatric Therapy Services

Greetings From the Art Room!

The children are off to a wonderful start in Art class! So far, we have had three sessions together and have been very busy learning about the Elements of Art, specifically, Line, Shape, Color and Form.  The children have been exploring these concepts through our class discussions, hands on activities and looking at examples of famous artwork from different artists throughout history.

We have explored fun ways to make lines using different mediums. As a class, we discussed and drew all of the unique types of lines that we could think of and the children rotated through 5 different creation stations.  They walked on giant line segments taped to the floor, created line collages with various sized paper strips, traced lines in colored art sand, practiced drawing different types of lines individually with markers, and lastly made a large group line sculpture out of pipe cleaners.   Everyone really enjoyed moving through the different activities and discovering lots of ways to create and identify lines.

During our color lesson, we talked about the concept of the color wheel with its three primary colors and three secondary colors.  After showing them how each are mixed together to form a new color, students were able to do their own mixing with tempera paint.  Since our session was close to Halloween, we used air-dry clay to form a small pumpkin and then the children mixed yellow and red paint to create their own orange color.  We will be revisiting color and form in the months to come with new projects to reinforce these basic art elements.

During our most recent lesson, we talked about shapes and the difference between organic/natural shapes and geometric shapes.   After identifying all the shapes we already knew (square, circle, rectangle, triangle, diamond, heart, pentagon, hexagon, octagon) we turned our attention to leaves and the incredible natural shapes we see every day outside.  We read the book Leaf Man by Lois Elhert and made our own leaf creatures with contact paper.  The end result was quite imaginative and everyone did a fantastic job.  Unfortunately, the dryness of my room really took a toll on these amazing pictures and caused the leaves to curl and become very brittle.   Please take extra care!

It’s been a pleasure getting to know your son or daughter these last couple of months.  We will be continuing to learn about the Elements of Art with more art lessons and activities this winter, and moving into our Art Through the Ages

Thank You!
Carole Nimrod
SLC Art Teacher

Carole has been inspiring children at SLC for the last 7 years. She has 20 years of experience teaching art to children of all ages. Carole’s hope is to provide the children at SLC an appreciation for the artist’s creative process, an exposure to art history, and cultivate an awareness of art in the environment.