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Teaching The Whole Child

750 400 Lindsey Burr

What does it mean to teach “the whole child”?

When we think of education, the first thing that may come to mind is academic achievement or cognitive learning such as a child’s ability to read, write and do math. It is important to remember the other domains such as physical and social/emotional development and not to focus only on academic skills.

Physical development in the preschool years involves large muscle strengthening through activities like jumping, kicking balls, pushing and pulling objects and using the trunk to support the body. Without trunk strength, it is extremely difficult for a child to hold himself comfortably and still in a chair or sit up and pay attention for any length of time on the carpet to listen to a story or other instruction. Fine motor skills, which lead to a child’s success with writing and other school and life functions, are improved by exposing children to opportunities like opening jars and snack bags, pinching cotton balls with tweezers, buttoning a doll’s dress and playing with play-doh. As fingers develop strength, they become more able to hold a pencil and apply appropriate pressure for writing.

Developing social and emotional skills in preschoolers is absolutely crucial. We must help children learn how to empathize with others and show compassion, share and take turns, manage emotions like anger and sadness and see things from another person’s point of view (a skill which develops in older 4 and 5 year olds. Younger children’s brains are “egocentric” and unable to think of things from any point of view other than their own. They can’t help it. It’s just their nature.)
If we are to teach the whole child, we must intentionally provide a setting in which all learning domains are nurtured. When this happens, children are well-rounded, happy, successful and ready to face their world.

What is a Nature-based Preschool?

600 400 Lindsey Burr

What is a Nature-based Preschool?

At Carson Creek School, our preschool program will balance traditional classroom learning with natural, outdoor exploration. Nature is the central organizing concept and children will spend a large part of their time outside playing and exploring our beautiful school yard. Inside, children will listen to stories and sings songs about our theme (Autumn, Bugs, Space, Flowers, Ocean Life, Eggs, Birds…).

They will develop skills in math by counting seeds, measuring sticks, sorting leaves, etc. In Nature preschools, the environment is set up for children to manipulate logs, sticks, rocks, acorns, leaves, water, mud, dirt and other natural materials in a way that is not usually seen in traditional schools. Children have experiences with animals, bugs and native vegetation as well as fruit trees and gardens filled with vegetables, flowers and herbs.

Research shows that daily exposure to nature impacts children positively in the following ways:

  • Supports development intellectually, socially, spiritually and physically
  • Supports creativity and problem solving
  • Enhances cognitive abilities
  • Improves academic performance
  • Reduces ADHD symptoms
  • Increases physical activity
  • Improves nutrition
  • Improves eyesight
  • Improves social relations
  • Improves self discipline
  • Reduces stress

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If playing with mud, dirt and bugs does not sound fun to you, you are in luck! Let our teachers do the dirty work! We love it!