- Blog By
Sumita Sen Mazumdar
Principal – Erode KG Campus
The Indian Public School – Erode.
May 20, 2022 | In Blog
TIPS KG Campus Erode has recently extended its early-years program to include playgroup school. Playgroup is for children between the ages of 1 ½ to 2 ½ years, calculated at the start of the academic year.
How many hours a day for playgroup?
Playgroup marks a child’s first independent time away from their familiar environment centered around the primary caregiver, usually the mom. This naturally needs to be a short duration of the day, preparatory to subsequently longer scholastic schedules. Three hours can be considered an ideal duration for playgroup school. More than this period a day is not recommended as it interferes with the normal physiological rhythm for this age group, with the children becoming physically and mentally fatigued.
Why should playgroup be considered for your child?
The semi-structured, ‘Creative Learning through Play’ environment that a good playgroup school provides, immensely contributes to a young child’s exploration and understanding of themselves as individual beings and who or what they see in the world around them. This means they are better equipped to understand their own bodily needs and the timely actions needed to address those. At the same time, they become more attuned to those around them, understanding and learning how to communicate a need or response to another individual being. Children learn to wait their turn and how to verbally establish boundaries.
Playgroup actively supports every domain of child development, i.e., physical, social, emotional, language, communication, and cognitive development, which is their ability to perceive and reason out things.
Playgroup ensures that children:
- Creatively learn through play; have ample opportunities to observe, explore, invent, reason, and solve problems.
- Develop language, communication, and social skills through interactions with peers and adults, and learn to take turns, share, and how to make friends.
- Undergo, in a controlled environment, experiences that help them learn how to cope with new stimuli, manage stress therefrom, and adapt to change, with a positive outcome.
- Have a safe and happy space outside the home environment with access to various open-ended materials, toys, and equipment that promote learning and new skill development.
- Pace themselves to gradually become ready for the formal school environment, which allows for a more smooth transition from home to the classroom.
- Strengthen both gross and fine motor movements.
What does a typical playgroup day look like?
After children arrive at playgroup school in the morning, first and foremost, they can be individually welcomed by their teacher into their playgroup environment. The teacher can guide them on classroom rules and etiquette such as where to take off their shoes or put their schoolbags, snack boxes, water bottles, etc. This kind of mildly structured guidance helps children to get an understanding of classroom rules and discipline, and also to become more aware and responsible for their own belongings.
Next, there can be some time set aside each for activities like circle time, indoor play and learning activities, outdoor free play, Storytime, etc. Snack time can be somewhere in the middle of the three hours of playgroup school time. Wherever possible, healthy and nutritious food can be encouraged. Fruits, whether cut or needed to be peeled and eaten are a good choice. Fine motor skills get a good workout with fruit peeling or picking up small pieces of fruit for eating.
Circle time, depending on how it is utilized can be a good opportunity for language development and vocabulary building through songs, rhymes, and movement.
The free play largely contributes to both gross and fine motor development. Both large and small open-ended pieces can be placed around the classroom for children to explore, use and move around during play. Small pieces can include items from real life too, like child-sized kitchen items, fabric, wooden items, etc.
Activities like process art with different textures and colors for children to explore, craftwork, fireless cooking, and decorating are some other activities that can also be done in playgroups.