Preschool Mixer Returns
Once again, preschoolers at the Children’s Education Center can mix and mingle at the weekly “Preschool Exchange.” The much-loved social activity, where young learners freely meet and interact with their peers, started back up again this past fall, after a three-year pandemic hiatus.
The exchange typically happens on Fridays when the school incorporates more creative activities. On exchange day, the teachers set up their classrooms with different stations, which range from a sensory station to blocks and Legos to an activity that requires them to work together. Before the students can break out to the different stations, they get a little card with their picture and name that they stick on a board by the classroom entrance.
The teachers then open their doors, empowering the thirty-two students to venture out, play and befriend schoolmates, all while learning. A board by the teachers’ doors displays the classroom numbers, teacher names, as well as prospective activities they may join.
While students are free to roam, classrooms can only hold a certain number of students, which means once full, the child must look for another activity in an open room. This little exercise teaches patience while giving them freedom of choice so that students can learn they have options even though they may have to wait for their original choice. There’s an incredible amount of joy displayed as a student grabs their card when leaving a classroom and takes a moment, debating which activity they’ll go to next.
Although many students are shy at the beginning, through multiple sessions, they become more open and need less prompting. As they make friends in the different classrooms, some students follow each other from one room to another so that they can play together. As well as a fun activity, the Preschool Exchange is an opportunity to work on skills involved in meeting core social/emotional, cognitive, and communication milestones.
According to Curriculum Coordinator Abbe Finz, “It took a few sessions for them to learn the process, and now they absolutely love it. They’re so proud to carry their picture around from room to room”.