A child quietly building structures with wooden blocks isn’t “just playing.” According to early child development experts, children learn about their world and understand abstract concepts best when they play. Through toys and play activities, children enhance their abstract thinking skills, improve their motor control, and learn to work with others. Instead of sending your child to a traditional preschool, consider a play-based pre-school or day care. Belmont has two fantastic institutions that can provide your child with fun hands-on learning activities in a safe, nurturing environment.
If you’re not tied down to a nine-to-five job, Little Hands is a great place for you and your child to bond and grow together. This play-based non-profit school has a strong parent participation program that toddlers, babies, and preschool kids will certainly enjoy. Their classes are two hours long and held once or twice a week. Parents and kids must attend classes together.
Unlike traditional preschools, where kids accomplish worksheets all day, Little Hands plans exciting activities and age-appropriate toys for every child’s growing mind. Kids are given the freedom to do whatever tickles their curiosity, be it indoor arts activities or running around the great outdoors. The only times kids come together is during meals and music time. In every class, parents participate by being an “observer” or “supervisor”, with roles alternating per week. A supervising parent is placed in charge of a specific activity station or area; he or she is tasked with watching over the kids participating in that activity. Observing parents make a record of the kids’ activity and meet with the teachers for half an hour to report progress, gain new information, and discuss any concerns they might have.
Aside from the all-day classes, Little Hands has several exciting activities for both parents and kids. There are six fun parent-night classes throughout the year, as well as family events like the Halloween Festival, All School Picnic, Ice Cream Social, and more. The school’s Fall Event and Auction is also a time-honored tradition where parents enjoy an evening of great food, entertainment, and a silent auction.
You can learn more about Little Hands by visiting their website, http://www.littlehands.org.
Hugs Tiny Tots
Nestled within beautiful Twin Pines Park is Hugs Tiny Tots, Belmont’s newest play-based preschool. Although it was only launched in 2010, many families in the area are highly satisfied with the learning experiences their children went through. Hugs Tiny Tots’ program is especially designed to help children aged 2 to 4 make a smooth transition into a structured environment. It’s the perfect first school for your little one, even if he or she has yet to be potty trained.
Every week, Founder Barbara Fetterly and the school’s qualified staff will provide kids with fun activities so that they can learn language, cognitive, and social skills at their own pace. Kids get to explore the nearby playground, enjoy a mid-morning snack together, and play age-appropriate educational games. Children will also be introduced to letters, colors, numbers, and the calendar. As for the youngest members in class, the school will help them make the transition between diapers and independent use of the toilet.
Although Hugs Tiny Tots has a playful, relaxed environment, the school would like to emphasize routines and structure to give children a strong sense of security. It’s important that kids be in school by 9 am so that they can go through the day with ease. Of course, just because there’s consistency in every session, it doesn’t mean that activities are no longer spontaneous or flexible. Children get to decide what games or activities they want to join, and the staff can make small adjustments to accommodate everyone’s needs.
Like Little Hands, HUGS Tiny Tots has classes twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays