PreschoolFirst developed its play-based learning experiences, formative assessment, and family involvement features based on the leading research on the growth and development of young children. PreschoolFirst goes a step further, structuring that information to make it easily accessible to all those involved in the development of each child. PreschoolFirst is built on a set of core principles:
- Play is a crucial dynamic of physical, intellectual, social, and emotional development at all age levels (David Elkind, 2007).
- Young children have a natural “disposition” to play and they learn best through activities that engage them playfully (Lillian Katz, 1995).
- Educators can use children’s natural disposition to play to plan meaningful activities with learning goals that enhance each child’s development (Sally Flagler, 1996).
- Young children benefit from both engaging in self-initiated spontaneous play and from teacher-planned, structured activities, projects, and experiences (Carol Copple & Sue Bredekamp, 2009).
- Families must be engaged in their child’s learning and are an essential part of every child’s success (Head Start Performance Standards).
- All children and families deserve a high-quality program based on meaningful play linked to appropriate learning goals. (Steve Barnett, 2011)
By adhering to these principles, PreschoolFirst helps provide a play-based, developmentally appropriate learning environment for young children in a variety of settings and circumstances.