Productive Playgroup: A Great Start in Early Childhood Education
Today’s Guest Blogger is Sarah West, a 34-year-old stay-at-home mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, golfing, traveling and cooking.
It’s crazy how busy our babies are these days. We have our infants in organized activities or parent/tot groups because we don’t want to miss out on any developmental opportunities. When they hit the toddler stage, their activity-packed schedules are busier than ours! At least that’s been my experience.
Along this journey so far (I have a 2 and 4 year old), I’ve discovered many different programs, classes and activities that have supported and enriched my kids’ minds and physical development. One in particular, that I have found especially valuable, is called Productive Playgroup. This weekly in-home playgroup, with kids starting at 18-months-old, is designed to jump start the child’s academic ability in a comfortable, fun and creative way, giving them the confidence needed for preschool and kindergarten. They do age-appropriate activities, such as doing art projects, singing songs, learning numbers and letters, etc., all while learning about sharing, taking-turns and paying attention. The classes consist of 4-6 kids all within the same age range.
The playgroup structure is truly unique because of its small group setting. The teacher (who is required to have a teaching license and at least two years of teaching experience in a preschool setting) arrives at the designated house (all the kids take turns hosting at their house) a few minutes before start time and lays out a giant parachute (to contain the mess), along with a little table and chairs for the kids to sit. As they arrive, the kids are seated around the table and they begin working with playdough.
Once all the kids have arrived and the parents leave, the activities begin. And somehow, the teacher manages to keep the kids focused and seated at the table for a better part of the 90 minute playgroup. For the past year, my (almost) 4-year-old has been learning his letters and numbers in Productive Playgroup and has been practicing writing his name. I pick him up with his letter and name writing practice sheets, as well as his art project that represents his letter of the day (they might make a sailboat if they are practicing the letter “s”). My (almost) 2 year old is learning about taking turns, following directions and working together in a small group, in addition to doing art projects and singing songs. The skills my kids have obtained through this program far exceed those from other programs we’ve tried.
Krista Brown, the owner of Productive Playgroup, can be reached at kbrown506 [at] hotmail.com.