Editor’s note: Taryn Kasper ’15 is in the First-Year Seminar “Play Fair! Share! Don’t Run,” which is led by Dr. Cindy Reedy, Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Early Childhood Education Program. Kasper, who wants to become an elementary school teacher, enrolled in the course because it focuses on the psychology of young children.
By Taryn Kasper ’15
Everything we need to know and practice in life, we learned in kindergarten. The course "Play Fair! Share! Don’t Run!" focuses on how social forces, media, in and out of school settings, and character education affect the social and academic development of people today. Through different games, readings, activities, and community learning experiences, the Play Fair group discovers our inner child while taking a glance inside the minds of average people. We learn things about ourselves and others that convey how philosophies like that in the Kindergarten Credo, by Robert Fulgham, truly are the way people should live their lives.
The first assignment our class had was to read the Kindergarten Credo. It informed all of us that the most important and valuable lessons in life are simply taught when we are in kindergarten. Rules such as play fair, share, clean up your own mess, put things back where you found them, and flush are including in Fulghum’s philosophy. We proceeded to play games that brought out our inner child and discover that the games we did play in kindergarten connect to the rules we live by as adults.
On Sept. 29, our group visited Ardsley Day Care Center, just down the street from Arcadia University. We were split into small groups and asked to interact with a different group of 3-5 year olds at the school. Each individual group had to plan an assortment of activities that coincided with the book Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney. All of the class enjoyed the experience and appreciated the opportunity to work and learn firsthand with the children at the school.
When we first arrived to the site, the class was given a tour of the school’s infant room, gymnasium, classrooms, and other facilities in the building. Next, we split up into our groups and went into our assigned classroom. My group decided to start with a name game then we read the book. After finishing the book, we proceeded with games like “Llama Says” and “Pin the Pajamas on the Llama.” We also came prepared with three other activities that we unfortunately did not have time for. Overall, my group and I had a successful day at Ardsley and learned quite a lot.
Working that closely with children gave the class the chance to experience what we’ve been studying first hand. The Kindergarten Credo was evident throughout all of the activities we planned. The children worked well together socially because they were able to share with one another, take turns, play fair, and follow other rules that they learned in the day care setting. Throughout the rest of their school career, these rules should be enforced and taught subtly, molding these children into responsible, well-adjusted adults.
Not many people would believe that all a person needs to know in life they learned in kindergarten. After visiting Ardsley Day Care Center, I believe that this is true. Life lessons are taught to all of us at a young age, especially in kindergarten. It starts out with simple rules that are enforced in free play, class work, and in games at school. Each year we grow older, we build on top of this knowledge, adding more experience and expertise to each of these life lessons. Slowly, but surely, these skills and rules are developed and keep developing as long as a person lives. There is no end to knowledge, but it all begins back in places like the preschool classes at Ardsley Day Care Center.