At our day care centres, free play and fun are paramount. Besides free play, we also offer all pre-schoolers and, where possible, toddlers, targeted activities. Various areas of development are thereby addressed: motor-sensory, cognitive-language, creative-imagery and social-emotional. The activities are linked to themes such as Animal Manners. A theme lasts 6 to 8 weeks. This method has been developed by our pedagogues and is called Playful Development.
We do 2 targeted activities per day, for example a creative activity and an activity to stimulate language and vocabulary such as singing songs and story time. In the mornings, we usually do activities in which all of the children can participate. In the afternoons, when the youngest children are asleep, there is more time for pre-school activities. This might include a climbing and scrambling course. A theme corner or theme cupboard is created for the pre-schoolers and for the youngest children we provide them with a theme basket. In it, we place objects that fit the theme and that have different features, such as hard and soft, large and small, heavy and light. For example, with the theme "Animal Manners," we might place a large soft stuffed elephant and a small hard Duplo elephant in the basket. Books about farm animals, domestic or zoo animals, toys that make animal sounds and wooden depictions of animals also fit the theme. Pre-schoolers develop rapidly. They learn new words quickly and point out everything they see, hear and feel. They move a lot and love to imitate. From about age three, pre-schoolers play together more. They frequently role play, such as a policeman and a crook or a child and a mother. This is how children practice their social skills.