What is Learning? What is Play?


Every day, our focus is preparing children for school and lifelong success.  A common notion in our country is that school readiness is about letters and numbers. At GMCC; our curriculum, staff and programs go far beyond just the core competencies.  When we think about what is important for children to learn, we think about their social and emotional wellbeing. We help children to understand the world around them.  We work to encourage their sense of self, safety and initiative.


Our teaching philosophy is focused on providing children experiences in which they can “play.”  When children play, they are practicing new skills while trying out new experiences.  Through play and discovery learning is happening throughout every moment of the children’s day.  Riding the bus on a field trip for example, children are expanding their world boundaries.  They are learning about new rules and how to be safe out in the world.  They are expanding their horizons by visiting new places and trying new experiences and meeting new people.  What children gain educationally is the chance to practice their self-help, independence, trust and safety skills. They learn new patterns that support oral language, vocabulary and mathematics.  When they interact with new people, they learn about another’s perspective.

One story:

“Susan” and her son, “Tommy” went to open house at kindergarten.  Open House is a chance for parents and children entering kindergarten to see their new classroom, meet the teachers and other kids that will be in class.  Another part of the open house experience is for the kindergartners and their parents to meet the bus driver, learn the bus rules, and take a ride on the big bus.  For children and parents that are new to school, riding the school bus is a brand new experience and a big step for five year olds.   Susan and Molly stood in line while other families climbed the steps onto the bus.  When it was their turn to get on the bus, everyone realized that every seat was already taken.  Instead of being sad that there wasn’t room for Tommy and his mom, Tommy exclaimed, “Its ok, I don’t need to ride the bus.  I rode the bus at summer camp all summer.  I already know the driver and I know all the safety rules!”    As Susan smiled at her son, the bus driver said, “Oh, yes I know Tommy AND he knows the bus rules!”

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