Preschool is a valuable period for child development because it is a foundation for an individual’s future learning and communicational capabilities. Indeed, early education programs are based on encouraging curiosity and independence and motivating social contact (Illeris, 2018). Teachers need to design their curriculums considering the opportunity to facilitate child-initiated activities and help them obtain knowledge through games and communication (Rubin & Coplan, 1998). Age from three to five years is an appropriate example for the assignment because children have already gathered various skills, are ready to explore the world, and are willing to communicate. Furthermore, their behavior is more conscious and can be influenced by the teacher’s involvement and facilitation. This paper aims to design a preschool daycare program for children aged three to five and discuss the activities to enhance their social, emotional, physical, and cognitive skills.
Social Skills Development
Social skills are being developed through daily interactions with peers, playing games, participating in team sports, and communicating with educators and other adults. Consequently, all activities included in the preschool program and described below participate in individuals’ socialization. The age between three and five is when children are most willing to interact with each other, play in groups, and make friends (Rubin & Coplan, 1998). Moreover, social learning theory suggests that being around peers increases the efficiency of obtaining knowledge (Illeris, 2018). An educator must observe how groups interact and include additional socializing activities if children experience difficulties in intercommunication.
Emotional Skills Development
Emotional skills are the comprehensive aspect as their development significantly depends on factors an educator cannot influence – a child’s temperament and their family’s environment. The part of the program dedicated to this skill set might require frequent updates as the teacher observes how children interact and express their emotions. Playing has been the primary learning approach for three-to-five years old, and the games dedicated to expressions recognition are a valuable contribution to overall development (Mullins & Tashjian, 2018). Erikson’s theory suggests that children require assistance and facilitation in the beginning, yet then their activities should be organized in a way they can interact on their own (Smolucha & Smolucha, 2021). The related skills can be obtained through the teacher’s explanation and other games for children to memorize how emotions can be recognized and expressed.
In the standard daycare setting, games such as Mime and Magnet Faces can be integrated into the program as they require minimal equipment and are well-perceived by the three-to-five-year-olds. Children will do mimes or performers who tell stories without using words in the first activity. Every youngster will become a mime by acting out scenarios utilizing body language, expressions, and other actions that their mates will guess and then be asked how they would have performed the same emotion. Based on Vygotsky’s theory, educators should play the game with the children first, allowing them to display and discuss without interruption (Smolucha & Smolucha, 2021). The space to perform the activity is a typical daycare classroom, and a toy for kids to give to identify their turn to act is necessary.
Another game, Magnet Faces, can also take place in a class with different expressions set on each child’s magnetic blank face, eyes, brows, mouth, and nose prepared by the teacher. Based on Freud’s theory, the game will help individuals’ unconscious mind to memorize and then properly use their emotional intelligence (Illeris, 2018). Children will make a face, explain its emotion, and then provide an example that can lead to the person’s face expressing that feeling.
Physical Skills Development
Physical activity is vital for every child’s health, and preschool programs must include sports and games that would develop young individuals’ coordination, endurance, and the importance of movement in their life. Social learning theory is applicable in developing physical skills as it claims that interaction with peers drives knowledge (Rubin & Coplan, 1998). By engaging kids in team-based sports and companion coaching to supplement ideas, they will be more interested and, consequently, more active. The best settings for physical skills development are playgrounds, parks, pools, and local sports facilities. Before including the activities into their program, the teacher must consider the tools necessary to perform a selected sport.
Examples of physical skills development are active games such as repeating the movements after a teacher or dancing competitions. Moreover, children can be involved in team sports and, according to the social learning theory, learn to operate in groups and easily handle conflicts among themselves (Thomas et al., 1970). Furthermore, a preschool curriculum can include “Olympics” to host annually and teach the concept of competition and teamwork, giving each child an opportunity to shine. Activities such as relay or egg and spoon races can highlight speed and skills; soccer is beneficial for emphasizing teamwork. Each child will receive a prize for participating, and if some children are unable to play due to medical reasons, they will serve as cheerleaders, scorekeepers, and coaches for their classmates.
Cognitive Skills Development
Three to five years is the age when cognitive skills development rapidly increases, and an adequately designed preschool program can help children maintain improvement. This period of growing up is characterized by individuals emerging ability to centralize thought, generate and recall first bright memories, and learn to count and read (Salter Ainsworth, 1979). Piaget’s cognitive development theory names this age a pre-operational stage, in which a child is unable to absorb theoretical aspects and requires actual physical circumstances (Illeris, 2018). Consequently, the activities should be built around playing, drawing, moving letters, and exchanging experiences with peers. A Daycare classroom is a suitable environment for cognitive skills development, and many pieces of equipment, such as pencils, paper, stickers, magnets, and books, will enable children to study with interest.
Games based on drawing, guessing, and memorizing are necessary for a preschool program to develop children’s cognitive skills. Indeed, Drawing Pictures, an activity where each child takes a piece of paper and is asked to draw a place that makes them happy, would enable their memory, creativity, and imagination (Thomas et al., 1970). Another game, Super Intelligent Investigators, provides everyone with an opportunity to play detective searching for a mysterious item hidden inside the box. Children would ask a few questions about the item before informing the teacher of their guesses and demonstrating their reasoning and thought skills.
Daycare benefits three-to-five-year-old children as social interaction with peers and educational activities result in social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development. Preschool programs’ design must equally address all aspects and provide sufficient materials for learning and communication. The activities based on playing games improve mental, emotional, and physical health by investigating many aspects of children’s surroundings, such as the colors, shapes, smells, and textures of vegetables. Babbling with peers is a means for them to stay socially engaged with their peers and adults. Young children enrolled in the program will get excellent care from preschool and develop a sufficient foundation for future education and skills development.
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