There is a substantial research base that concludes play-based learning, in combination with responsive interactions, is the best way to build academic and executive functioning skills in young children. But many programs have yet to embrace play-based learning as a family engagement approach, opting instead for more traditional homework exercises like worksheets. Traditional homework is often developmentally inappropriate for preschoolers, frustrating for parents, and unappealing to children. Alternatively, there are districts who choose to institute no homework policies, which may set up a barrier to connecting families with play-based learning opportunities. CLI recommends shifting to effective home-based learning that is grounded in play and responsive interactions. In addition to more effectively building academic skills, this approach has the added benefit of building the social and emotional bonds between young children and their parents, siblings, and other family members.
The CIRCLE Activity Collection: Family is a free web-based collection of activities designed specifically for families to support children’s development and school readiness skills from birth through grade 2. Activities target seven learning domains: Language and Communication, Reading & Writing, Math, Science, Social & Emotional, Physical Development, and Art and Sensory. The majority of activities use everyday materials that can be found in most households, are in both English and Spanish, and many include video examples to help parents get started.
The Parent Introduction Letter is designed to help parents learn about the CIRCLE Activity Collection: Family. The letter includes information from research regarding the benefits of play. It also invites parents to partner with their child’s teacher by engaging in activities from the collection that support child development through play. The letter is in editable format so teachers can easily make changes and adapt it to their specific needs.
Use this simple Family Lesson Form to share individualized activities with families to practice each week. The form is fillable and dual-language (English/Spanish). Use the notes column to provide more detailed explanations on the purpose of the activity, how to engage in it, and why it might be helpful for the child.
PALS Spotlights highlight key concepts from the research-based Play and Learning Strategies program, which helps families interact with their infants, toddlers, and three-year-olds in responsive, stimulating ways that support their social-emotional, cognitive, and language development. The videos show how to use these strategies throughout the day, during play, and during daily routines.
The PALS Spotlights Guide provides ideas for how to access, use, and share the videos with families.
Designed around selections from PBS LearningMedia, these activities teach foundational STEM skills known to be important for 3-6-year-olds. Set in a virtual laboratory setting, the CIRCLE STEM Lab integrates the video segments with hands-on activities to be completed by your child. Each activity is designed to facilitate independent learning on a digital device.
Professional Learning Session: Encouraging Play-Based Learning and Responsive Interactions at Home
You and your child will do exercises by choosing number and movement cards. This game helps promote a healthy lifestyle and allows your child to practice identifying numbers.
Your child will crumple different kinds of paper. This activity helps develop your baby's fine motor skills, which prepares them for picking up crayons and writing when they get older.
En esta actividad, usted y su niño harán una casita para un insecto que cubra todas sus necesidades. Después irán a dar un paseo por el vecindario o el patio y encontrarán un insecto para la casita.