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Art, music, and dramatic play are not only enjoyable and enriching activities for young children—they are also great opportunities to practice important skills. Drawing and painting can support fine motor skills and demonstrate reading comprehension when children draw a scene from a story they heard. Music and dance help children practice and understand concepts of rhyming, rhythm, and counting. Dramatic play can help develop key emotional skills such as empathy and to practice skills through role-play. Both music, in the form of singing, and dramatic play support story understanding and oral language skills, key for early literacy. Perhaps most importantly, creative learning can offer children exciting new opportunities to play, express their creativity, and explore their world and their feelings.
Visual and performing arts are also key tools in differentiated learning and universal design. Students who struggle with a concept may be better able to understand their teacher, or to express their understanding, through drawing a picture, singing a song, or role-play than through other means. The arts are also a great way to create a sense of classroom community and to express respect and pride for students’ diverse cultures.
The Preschool Learning Foundations recognizes four strands:1
TK teachers can offer opportunities for creative learning throughout the day. Some ways to incorporate creative learning into your TK classroom include:
|1||California Department of Education (2010). California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 2. www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/re/documents/psfoundationsvol2.pdf|