Lawrence K. Frank, an expert in human development, said this about the value of play: “Play…is the way the child learns what no one can teach him. It is the way he explores and orients himself to the actual world of space and time, of things, animals, structures, and people. Through play the child practices and rehearses endlessly the complicated and subtle patterns of human living and communication which he must master if he is to become a participating adult in our social life.”
This week marks the last week of Noah’s first year at Aemilian Preschool in Wauwatosa and I can’t believe how much he has grown in the last nine months. He is more outgoing, polite, well-behaved and most importantly – his creativity is thriving.
I could say that his growth is because of the natural development from two to three years old, but I truly don’t believe he would be doing this well without having attended preschool this past year.
We are blessed that Noah spent the first two years of his life spending his days with my mom. The amount of one-on-one time that was spent with him during those early years put him well ahead of the game “academically”. He was talking sentences at two years old and has always been advanced from that perspective. He learned his colors, letters, numbers, ABCs, etc. early on. I share this because it ties back to why we chose Aemilian as the preschool for Noah.
After touring a slew of different preschools last year we ultimately chose Aemilian because of their play-based learning model. It was far more important for us to send Noah to a preschool that focused on dramatic play and social skills rather than the “academic” skills.
If you aren’t familiar with a play-based learning model preschool, it is a program where children choose activities based on their current interests. The play-based classroom is broken up into sections, such as a home or kitchen, science area, water table, reading nook, space with blocks and other toys, or other areas. Teachers encourage the kids to play, facilitating social skills along the way. “Even though it seems like they are just playing, they are learning valuable skills, including important social skills and cooperation with others, learning about signs (as most items are labeled), and early math,” says Jenifer Wana, author of “How to Choose the Best Preschool for Your Child.”
Less than five minutes after we walked into Aemilian we knew it was the right place for Noah. You can feel the play-based learning focus just walking through the building – sensory tables in every classroom, an outdoor area where the kids play outside daily, crafts/art projects decorating the walls, reading nooks and multiple play areas in every classroom and a giant indoor play room for the cold winter months.
A few bonuses of Aemilian:
- All teachers have 4-year degrees. Even the student teachers have degrees and are in grad school.
- The school shares a parking lot with Webster Park and the kids take “field trips” there on warm days.
- Kids go outside every day! (weather pending, of course)
- Half day kids eat lunch at school. This was important for us for Noah to learn to “serve” and eat himself and learn independence. Now, at the end of the year, he serves himself at home and is incredibly independent in his eating.
- Half day schedules are truly half day – 8:00-12:30PM – which is hard to find! I have a friend who’s preschool day is 8:30-11AM. That just seems silly, IMO.
As this first year comes to an end, I couldn’t be happier that we made this preschool decision for Noah. Our family has seen him grow throughout the year and really thrive from playing with other friends and learning from his teachers.
We can’t wait to see what next year and 3K has in store!
Now, on to summer!
4515 N. Mayfair Road, Wauwatosa, WI 53225 | 414-463-1641 | https://www.aemilianpreschool.com
Accredited by NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) since 1993, we adhere to the highest standards that represent the mark of quality in early childhood education. The Aemilian Preschool is a private, non-profit, non-sectarian preschool that maintains a 5-star, Youngstar rating with the State of Wisconsin.
At The Aemilian Preschool we provide a safe, nurturing, stimulating educational environment that helps all children achieve early childhood education success. Our warm, sensitive and experienced faculty offers a developmentally appropriate and nationally accredited program that inspires students to their highest potential.