As we get ready to send our daughter to Kindergarten next year, I’ve partnered with Bright Horizons Early Education and Preschool to share some thoughts on kindergarten readiness.  Bright Horizons is hosting their annual Kindergarten Prep and Preschool Showcase events around the Boston area the week of January 27th.

Promoting Creativity for Pre-K learners

Although it’s hard to believe, our oldest child will start kindergarten next year. She turns five in just two weeks and I feel this tug to get her ready for kindergarten, while also pushing her to play more without any structure. I went to a lecture recently about the demise of kid’s imagination and creative thinking skills, all because of the toys and media we let into their childhood. It was eye-opening. Now it’s changing my thoughts on how we play, and how I can encourage creativity while still making sure she is prepared for the demands of kindergarten.

Counting Activity Pre-K

The idea of getting my daughter ready for kindergarten through play really makes sense to me. When I searched Pinterest for kindergarten preparation, I found tons of wonderful activities. Math, writing, story telling all play a part of learning new skills, but can also encourage creativity. When I spoke with J.J. Lynch, the director from the Sudbury Bright Horizons, she shared a great activity that is popular in their Kindergarten Prep classroom. Let them draw a picture in a notebook, then pass the book to an adult and have them write down everything the child says about the story. It’s a great way for them to connect the creativity of drawing with the skills of writing and reading.

sock puppet diy

Making a sock puppet is a great way to encourage creative thinking. Source

The lecture I went to was run by Dr. Susan Linn, who is a co-founder of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. She worked with Mister Rogers, so you know she is a good egg. She wrote the book: The Case for Make-Believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World. I loved her message of what kids need in order to foster their creativity:

  • Time
  • Space
  • Silence
  • Inspiration

Good toys are 90% child driven. Most toys on the market are not. As I walked through my house the morning after the lecture, I felt less excited about the talking toys, and those with a predetermined identity. Where are the toys that are gender neutral? Maybe we need some sock puppets in our home. When we give children a branded toy (say Princess Sophia) then we have already given them the toy’s identity, the script and have drastically reduced their need to be creative. Even coloring books fall into this realm of reducing our children’s opportunity for creativity.

Finding the right balance is what is most important. Letting the kids play to learn is a part of childhood that we as parents need to protect. The influence of T.V. and branded characters is a whole new world to navigate. There are some helpful tips and tools on the Coalition for Commercial Free Childhood’s website.  {Their TOADY awards are crazy.}

Bright Horizons will be hosting their annual Kindergarten Prep and Preschool Showcase event, which is an opportunity for rising preschool and Kindergarten Prep aged families to engage with the teachers and educate them around the curriculum for the program that their child will soon be entering. The kids are invited and dinner is included. It’s a great way for the whole family to get an idea of how Bright Horizons teaches kids to get ready for Kindergarten. I appreciated learning about their approach to educate the “whole” child, not just the academic side of learning. They have preschool locations all over Massachusetts and you can find the schedule of events by location here

Image Source

This is a sponsored post by Bright Horizons but all the stories and opinions shared here are my own.

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