Stages of Play
While there are three stages of play, kindergarten primarily focuses on stages two and three -
The second stage of play
This occurs from about the third to the fifth year - the age of imitation - when quite new faculties develop. All the intensity which went into learning to stand, walk, speak and think in the first stage, now find a new field of endeavour.
Most remarkable is the child's ability to create ‘real’ things out of simple objects (a log as an iron, or a seed is a potato). The child imitates daily events, constantly changing with each new discovery. This is not unconcentraed play. It is creative imagination.
The third stage of play
In the third stage, at five to seven years, the stimulus isn't always from the outside world. It comes increasingly from within.
Play is still orientated toward active adults in the environment, but play is based on images the child creates of what they want to do.
The play environment
Everything within play environments contribute to a feeling of genuine and real beauty. Natural and honest materials and forms in toys and clothing, the nature of food, the speech children hear, and the songs they sing, all plant seeds that grow as reverence, a love of learning and appreciation of art and beauty.
Toys and materials are simple and natural, so individual imagination determines the use of each object e.g. Coloured cloths in a basket can become capes, babies' blankets, princess veils, an ocean, a cubby - whatever the child wants them to be.
Seasonal Festivals are important times of the kindergarten year when they foster meaningful connections with nature's cycle. They are important parts of the programme and are central points of celebration for families as well.