Image-making helps children process life experiences and fantasies. It heightens their aesthetic awareness and sensitivity to beauty. The artistic process generates many opportunities for problem solving; creative, critical, and, especially, intuitive thinking; and developing decision making skills. Manipulative, pre-writing, reading, and social skills are enhanced as children code and decode the world around them through their creations. There is little better chance for growth.
Open Door teachers…
- Give no pre-direction, modeling, or expectation to children in terms of finished product or use of materials;
- Respect the right of children to discard what they have made;
- Recognize and accept age and child appropriate skills;
- Change plans at the children’s suggestions;
- Observe children carefully to identify and meet their needs and let them go about their discoveries in peace.
Almost all aspects of a child’s development can be enhanced through the use of blocks. Because our blocks are designed in mathematical units, they aid in the development of concrete understanding of concepts essential to logical thinking. Awareness of sizes, shapes, numbers, order, area, length, and weight develops as the children select, build with, and put away blocks. The child’s physical development of both large and small muscles is enhanced. Language, aesthetics, and social development grow, along with problem solving skills, cooperation, and respect for others and their work.
Books are the traditional backbone of learning. The primary goal at Open Door is to teach the children to develop a love of books and a love of reading them, the wealth of vocabulary building, and the evolution of communication skills. As with all our teaching materials, the books at Open Door have been chosen for their quality and developmental appropriateness.
In dramatic play, children take their real experiences with people and things, combine them with their thoughts and feelings about those experiences, and come up with new ideas.
A wonderful creative outlet, role-playing allows children to try out new ideas in a safe environment, work out emotions, and share experiences. It promotes interaction with peers, and aids in the development of vocabulary and social skills.
Manipulatives not only promote versatility and creativity, but also provide opportunities for learning in several areas at once, including math, physics, spatial relations, verbal and social growth, problem solving, decision making, small and large muscle coordination, aesthetics, and imagination.
Music & Movement
Music and rhythmic movement are a natural part of all cultures, which is why we include it in so many aspects of our classrooms. Music in the classroom encompasses singing, listening, instrument use, and creative movement. It allows children to express their moods, assimilate information, and develop language.
The major difference between indoor and outdoor play is the presence of more space, more freedom, more movement, more noise, and different construction materials—especially sand and dirt. We see the playgrounds as outdoor classrooms where progressive education is still practiced.
Play Dough & Clay
Play dough and clay are forms of three-dimensional art that are easily used by children of various ages. Pounding, smashing, and pulling apart clay and play dough can allow children to vent intense emotions.
Sand & Water
Sand and water are naturally soothing substances. Children have a powerful desire to explore these media, which provides them with both sensory stimulation and opportunities for scientific discovery. They develop cognitive and observation skills while determining how the addition of water to sand changes its weight, texture, and cohesive properties, and while determining why certain objects sink in water and others float.
Woodworking uses such a variety of skills, tools, and materials that the opportunity for unstructured conceptual learning is almost unlimited. Mathematics and basic laws of physics are part of measuring, fitting, balancing, and use of force. Practice in coordination is constant. Decision making and planning are a large part of the experience.