Anansi and his sons teach us the value of finding our individual strengths and working cooperatively.

Ferdinand and George show us it's perfectly okay to be different and important to be true to ourselves.

Owen & Mzee demonstrate the beauty of friendship.

Honey BadgerSophie and Little Rabbit get us in touch with our emotions...even the difficult ones!                                 


Children are never too young to learn math concepts. Counting, sorting and the puzzles are fun first steps in numerical literacy.  Manipulatives are an important part of teaching and learning number recognition, counting, patterning, one to one correspondence, addition, and much more.  All numbers are introduced hands-on and manipulative based.


Playful Learning Preschool understands the value of literacy.  Beyond that, we want all children to fall in love with literature and reading.  We have an extensive library, and the children are encouraged to choose what they would like to read during group reading time, being read to one-on-one or exploring books on their own.  When the group finds a piece of literature they particularly enjoy, we may turn our attention to art or cooking projects that reflect the themes of the book or may produce a dramatization of the book with the children playing various parts. 


Pre-writing is hands on and manipulative-based.  The students begin learning strokes by using tactile tools such as shaving cream, finger-paint, sandpaper letters and clay snakes.  Through these activities, the students practice the strokes of the letters. The children learn the ASL signs for the letters and different letters are featured each week in “Eat the Alphabet” (a delicious way teaching letter recognition) and “Jump for “J” and "Alphabodies" engages their gross motor skills in these literacy-building exercises. Accompanying the children’s artwork, they are encouraged to dictate a story or explanation to go along with their artistic expression. This is written down to show the connection between the spoken and written word.  When they are interested, children are encouraged to write their own stories.


Art activities are always made available at Playful Learning Preschool.  We understand how powerful art can be for young children.  From a practical standpoint, art builds cognitive skills.  Grasping paintbrushes, pens and crayons or molding clay helps develop children’s fine muscle coordination--the same motor skills they will need for writing.  Art activities help children explore their ability to make representations—an essential building block for reading.  Finally, children learn about shapes, patterns and lines through art, encouraging their future math skills. Art also builds self-esteem when they feel have control over materials and artistic choices and when their creations are displayed and appreciated.  Art is an important means of self-expression and gives them good reason to be proud of their efforts. Playful Learning Preschool takes an “open-studio” approach to art.  They will learn how to use the material, and will be instructed in specific techniques. But mostly, the projects they choose to make are up to them. We love to see what they can create!


Science is EVERYWHERE!  Botany is in the garden where our vegetables grow!  Chemistry can be found in the kitchen when we’re cooking. Physics happens in the yard when we’re playing with the ball or on the floor building a catapult.  Children enjoy becoming little scientists.  They are encouraged to make hypotheses and to experiment to test their theories.  When the children use ice cubes to draw on the concrete, they’re not just being artistic and building their fine motor skills, but they are also building cognitive skills by experiencing the changing properties of matter.  

Playful Learning Preschool


*Bang, Molly, When Sophie Gets Angry--Really, Really Angry..., New York, NY Scholastic, 1999. Brett, Jan, Honey…Honey...Lion!: A Story from Africa, New York, NY, GP Putnam’s Sons, 2005.  Feiffer, Jules, Bark, George!, New York, NY, Harper Collins Publishers, 1999.  Hatkoff, Isabella, Hatkoff, Craig and Kahumbu, Paula, Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship, New York, NY,  Scholastic Press, 2006. Klise, Kate, Why Do You Cry?: Not a Sob Story, New York, NY, Henry Holt and Company, 2006. Leaf, Munro, The Story of Ferdinand, New York, NY, Puffin Books, 1936 McDermott, Gerald, Anansi the Spider: a tale from the Ashanti, New York, NY Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1972.

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Terri L Ryder, MSW, EdM

Huntington Beach, CA 92646

(206) 351-2636, terriryder@yahoo.com