Our play-based program respects the individual child while promoting the classroom community. Play is the work of childhood. It is the child’s job. It is through play children develop themselves and learn to negotiate with peers and their environment.
PAMDS’ goal is to support each child as he/she successfully begins an educational path. Our students acquire both academic knowledge and social skills. Children learn to take turns, share and collaborate with respect for others and their surroundings. Education at the Park Avenue Methodist Day School is an active, child-centered enterprise, supported by a dedicated, talented faculty. The children are given time to explore and interact. They are also given the freedom to develop their own interests. PAMDS students are, by reputation, recognized for their kind and cooperative behavior. This is a direct result of emphasizing respect and cooperation by creating an environment in which the children feel safe, comfortable and valued, while being intellectually engaged in their activities. In a cozy, supportive and challenging classroom, children not only take pride in their own accomplishments, but also appreciate the accomplishments of other members of the group.
Scheduled activities include: group meetings, theme-based, child inspired projects, music, art, fine motor and gross motor activities. There is also ample time each day for individual and small group exploration of many inherently interesting activities. These experiences develop around the child’s choice with an emphasis on free play and are critical for the development of language skills and mathematical thinking. Our skilled teachers guide the flow, direction and development of the child’s chosen work. In a flexible, responsive classroom, the teachers respond to the specific interests of the children. The differences between a play based model and other models is not what information and skills are gained, but rather the ways in which skills and knowledge are offered to the children. The ‘pre’ in preschool is important. Early education is not merely a scaled down version of later education with workbooks, drills and computer technology, but rather a preparation for later education. Happiness, creativity and active imaginations are all much more important for later academic success than early acquisition of automated information.