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Learning and Games in the Trees Class

January 25, 2023 | Emily Ford Sytsma

Young children learn so much through playing games.  Playing math games help children to gain a more well-rounded understanding of math concepts. It also provides lots of practice while having fun. 

Children learn self-regulation through game playing.  Learning to wait your turn and following the rules are important lessons.  Game playing can help lengthen a child’s attention span, build coping skills and promote resilience when things don’t go their way.

When children play board games, they learn to identify colors, count spaces and develop hand-eye coordination and dexterity in moving pieces around the board. 

In addition to teaching them about teamwork, patience, and how to win and lose gracefully, board games can actually benefit kids’ brains and language development.  

Outdoor games motivate children to move and practice control of their body and impulses while having fun.  They also help children to come out of their shell and develop friendships.

We play games throughout the day, everyday.  We play math games, memory games, senses games, and name games during activity time. We play “eye spy” and “would you rather” games during snack and lunch.  We play Mr Fox, duck-duck-goose, red light green light, and monster game(tag) during parktime.  We play lots of different board games, hucka bucka beanstalk, and musical chairs in the afternoon. We play Simon says and “follow the leader” if we are waiting in line.  We even play “in the pot” game during dismissal.  So many games all day!

We are having so much fun everyday!

Playing games is an important part of learning in Trees Class.

(This post is written by Ms. Hwa Young Gluckow, our afternoon Trees Class Lead Teacher.)

Emily Ford Sytsma

Early Childhood Director

Ms. Sytsma began her career as an educator working in inclusive classrooms in the state of Hawaii but found her roots began to grow here at Mustard Seed School when she came to teach in 1996. She joined the preschool team in 2007, after teaching for many years in the Middle School. She finds delight in the preschool’s approach to teaching and learning, inspired by the preschools in Reggio Emilia, Italy. As Early Childhood Director, she seeks to support teachers in their work helping children learn about thinking and creative expression.

Ms. Sytsma’s the mother of a MSS alum and a current student. When not at school, Ms. Sytsma enjoys traveling with her husband and two children. She tends a very simple rooftop garden in Jersey City Heights and on long Saturday mornings, she may be seen taking long walks along the Hudson River and listening to audiobooks or podcasts while organizing her thoughts and getting her heart rate up.

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