At Mountain Song Community School kindergarten children learn through hands-on activities and child-initiated play. Numerous research studies, spanning from the 1970s to current day, show that early formalized instruction makes only short-term gains but it is the play-based kindergarten that leads to greater success in reading, math and the development of the imagination.
In the 1970s a German study compared 50 play-based kindergarten classes with 50 early-learning kindergartens and found that “by age ten the children who had played [when they were in kindergarten] excelled over the others in a host of ways.” This included reading, mathematics, and social/emotional development. As a result of this study German kindergartens reverted back to play-based environments.
In our play-based environment our Kindergarten teachers provide a place of warmth, beauty and inspiration and they serve as worthy role models for their children who at this age learn primarily through imitation.
By maintaining appropriate play spaces, teachers help children nurture their power of imagination. Toys are handmade using natural materials, or rocks, pinecones, stones, and pieces of wood are used for play. Carefully selected nature stories and fairy tales are told or presented through puppet shows to foster creativity in the children’s imaginative play.
Throughout the year, festivals mark the seasons with special stories, songs, verses, artistic activities, food, and treasures from nature. Many celebrations, including the child’s birthday, are tucked into the year. All the celebrations bring a sense of sharing, participation, fellowship, and gratitude for life.
Good morning dear earth
Good morning dear sun.
Good morning dear stones
And flowers every one.
Good morning dear busy bees
And the birds in the trees.
Good morning to you
And good morning to me.
Artwork by Neah Bay Douglas, Mountain Song Community School