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How Preschoolers Learn Best I 15 Helping Preschoolers Define Areas for Exploration Preschoolers, with their quickly growing bodies and touch-everything learning style, can unintentionally but frequently cause conflicts: “You touched my picture,” or “You knocked over my blocks.” You can avoid possible conflicts between children by physically defining their work and play areas. Here are objects that give preschool- ers adequate but defined learning and play spaces. Some spaces may be for one child and others for two or more. ● Large paper plates ● Plastic dishpans ● Plastic trays ● Placemats ● Bathroom rugs ● Carpet squares ● Tape on the floor ● Area rugs ● Large sheets of construction paper ● Empty plastic kiddy pools Maximizing Learning Experiences for Preschoolers Are you focused on teaching or on learning? With the best intentions, teach- ers have a tendency to focus on teaching, which is what you do. Instead, you should be focusing on learning, which is what the children do. You work hard to prepare materials and get children quietly settled so you can teach them. And to a certain extent that makes sense, because there is so much for them to learn. But think about the characteristics of preschoolers and how they learn. What if you were more interested in how children learn and how they use information than in your own plans and intentions? Can you follow their lead? These should be your goals for your curriculum should be as follows: i Empower each preschooler to become a confident, lifelong learner and a secure, caring person who approaches the world as an invita- tion to learn. i Promote all aspects of development: large- and small-motor, cogni- tive, perceptual, social, emotional, language, creative, and expressive. i Nurture a positive self-concept, which includes acceptance of cultural and family background. i Be free of racial or gender role biases or stereotypes, and encourage children to accept and enjoy diversity. understanding preschoolers ● Tabletops