Teaching at my school for the past nine years has been the most rewarding experience of my life. Welcoming and inclusive, we truly see every student as a future leader, with their own gifts to share. Our students come from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, with over 40 different countries represented in our school.
My classroom serves up to nine students, ages 2-5, who receive special education services for autism and related disabilities.
They love to create and explore, like every preschooler. Their laughter and curiosity brighten every day; there is little I look forward to more than spending time with these amazing little ones.
As we age, many of us forget how critical the early skills we learn through pretending are. Pretend play looks like so much fun (and it is!), but there's also so much learning that happens. Students are learning language, academic, and social skills. Language skills include following simple directions, describing our own actions and items, and even learning prepositions (in, under, on, etc). We practice academic skills as we compare sizes and shapes of different items, as we sequence the steps for cooking and preparing items, and as we count all the different items -- even when we split our cupcakes across 4 different plates. Finally, we learn social skills as we share materials, request turns, and cooperate to create a final project. All of these are critical skills to our students' success in kindergarten.
Pretend play can be a harder skill to capture and inspire in our classroom, but our students have all fallen in love with cooking!!
We recently made hot chocolate, and several students have tried to imitate our actions in their pretend play during center time. I am so excited to create this project, which will encourage their pretend play to expand and deepen even further -- getting them ready for kindergarten, which is coming up soon!
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