What do you remember most about your childhood? When asked about their childhood years later, most adults recall long time periods of free, unstructured play. Brain research has confirmed time and again that play is how children investigate their worlds and learn to solve problems. Not only is play what comes naturally to young children, it is the single most critical component of healthy development.
Despite powerful childhood memories and research data, our culture would have us believe that flashcards, drills and “educational” toys and videos are the best use of our children’s time and energy. At Lindenwood, we follow decades of early childhood research and introduce academic concepts to children within the context of their play. Because we know that about 75% of a child’s brain development occurs before age five, and children learn best through play, we will always have room for a child’s play within the walls of Lindenwood.
It is much easier for a three year old to learn and retain the concepts of colors, letters and numbers by sorting blocks or an afternoon of “grocery store” play than by memorizing these concepts without a context. By observing children at play, teachers get a realistic picture of the child’s developmental stage and can step in to support early literacy and early math skills within the context of play, where the child will most easily absorb them. As the child’s guide in the world of play, our teachers foster social skills by introducing new vocabulary, encouraging children to express emotions, promoting sharing, and modeling conflict resolution. Teachers document the cognitive skills the child displays during play.
Carl Jung, a famous psychologist, once said that “the creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct. The creative mind plays with objects it loves.” We are convinced that our block builders are future engineers and architects, our housekeeping corners are full of party- planners-to-be, and we have budding artists galore.
We never know which of our children’s childhood pastimes will turn into a lifelong passion. We invite you to spend some time in your child’s classroom; become familiar with the ins and outs of their play, as it truly is a window into their heart and mind.
"Play is the highest form of research." Albert Einstein
“Teaching children about the natural world should be one of the most important events of their lives.” - Thomas Berry
We believe that daily, hands-on experiences with nature are critical for your child’s development. Years of childhood studies show that children who have regular access to green space show decreased stress levels, higher attention rates, and less behavior problems. We believe that spending time in nature as a young child also helps children grow into adults that respect and care about the environment.
Interactions with nature teach preschoolers science concepts such as cause and effect, the life cycle, animal classifications, plant growth, weather, seasonal changes, and basic chemistry and physics. Our commitment to the outdoor learning process is why we now require rain boots for children entering our older classes (Turtles, Tigers, Bears, Bees and Dino4s); we want our children to be free to fully experience everything that nature has to offer.
A lifelong educator and author once said that “Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, water-bugs, tadpoles, frogs, wild strawberries, acorns, chestnuts, trees to climb, brooks to wade in, water-lilies, bees, butterflies, various animals to pet, hay-fields, pine-cones, rocks to roll, and sand, and any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of the best part of his education.” At Lindenwood Child Care, we are committed to teaching the whole child and to providing developmentally appropriate, hands-on experiences; if your child comes home covered in dirt, rest assured that they learned a lot!
Our Natural Playground provides infants, toddlers and preschoolers with daily opportunities to interact with nature. Planting and watering flowers, climbing the grassy hill or log steps, digging in dirt and sand, catching butterflies, growing vegetables, and listening to birds are common activities. Wind chimes, bells and lap drums bring music into the great outdoors, while easels, a mosaic, and flower sculptures made by local artists encourage the children to create their own art. Benches, picnic tables and an amphitheater enable classes to gather for a story or snack, while increased shade and a water fountain make year-long play possible.
Preschoolers enjoy a circular trike track and an open grassy area for kickball and parachute play, as well as pretend play under a garden-roof playhouse; the playground is handicap accessible as well. Perhaps best of all, the playground provides an open-ended canvas for children’s imaginative play, unlike fixed metal climbing structures.
The purpose of creation is to bring us closer to the Creator. As a parent, you don’t encourage children to experience nature because it’s pretty, but because your children are exposed to something larger and longer standing than their immediate experience. Last Child in the Woods
Our unique preschool nutrition program, Good to Grow, provides a healthy hot lunch and two snacks each day for our children. We know that good nutrition is a critical component of physical and mental growth, so we feed our children nutritious, kid-approved meals that will help them reach their full potential.
Menu items are selected by our parent/staff team for their high nutritional value and menus are assembled by a dietician. We encourage our parents to submit menu items and recipes to provide us with a variety of healthy choices. We serve fresh fruits and vegetables every day, as well as whole grains, lean meats, real cheese, and meals are prepared from scratch by our two in-house cooks. Children also enjoy eating beans, tomatoes, and other vegetables that they have grown with their teachers' help in our outdoor gardens.
Our meals are designed to significantly lower our children’s exposure to added sugars, dyes and preservatives. Foods are served separately on the plate to increase the likelihood that pickier eaters will eat a more varied diet. Combined with our emphasis on plentiful outdoor time for all ages in our natural playground, our Good to Grow food program gives our children’s active bodies the best possible start.