Halloween was my children’s favorite time of the year next to Christmas. They loved to dress up and they loved to eat candy. I struggled with trying to control their candy intake and finally gave up; they all lived and have good teeth. I came to accept that Matt was hyper until the candy was gone. I have been known to sneak into candy bags and make it disappear faster than it normally would. It was the one time of the year that I, NOT a seamstress by any stretch of the imagination, would tackle a cat costume or a batman outfit and it would turn out looking enough like it was supposed to that my children would be pleased and love me! In fact, a few of these outfits are still in SYC dress-ups!
Not all preschoolers like Halloween, with its masks and witches and scariness. This is because young children have not yet learned to distinguish between reality and fantasy. These fears are normal for this age and what helps most is to talk about them. The talking helps children handle their fears and feel supported by adults when they listen. At school we talk about scary masks and costumes. Alice the puppet seems to have trouble every year with scary masks, so we use her to encourage the children to express their concerns.
For the children (and teachers!) who are ready for Halloween costumes, we enjoy dressing up. One year as I arrived at school there was a cow talking to the minister of the church!
Haunted houses are not for preschoolers. The scenes depicted are too graphic for young children. Save this experience for later years when fantasy-reality knowledge is more sophisticated.
What are they learning by pretending?
Pretend play or imaginative dramatic play is the acting out of stories which involve multiple perspectives and the playful manipulation of ideas and emotions. It plays a vital role in a child’s development. It helps them learn to make sense of the world.
I remember as a young child racing home after spending 7 hours at elementary school and the first thing I wanted to do when I came home was to play school. I always wanted to play the teacher, being in charge of the whole class of stuffed animals. Years later…I became a teacher.
Most of my early childhood years I spent time playing with baby dolls. I took them everywhere, made clothes for them, fed them, insisted my parents make them real pancakes just like they were making for me, I changed their diapers, and swayed and snuggled with them. Many years later….I became a mother.
I also loved running around in my bare feet outside with the neighborhood kids. We spent hours playing cops and robbers. We had metal hand cuffs and my parents let me have a cap gun. I was thrilled with the loud sound and smoke odor that escaped it every time I pulled the trigger. I felt powerful. Years later….I never became a cop or a robber.
In my Kindergarten year I would spend my free time, washing Barbie dolls’ hair, and snipping away at the hair. Creating, ‘unique’ cuts. When I became dissatisfied with the Barbies, I moved on to bigger dolls, when that grew boring, I even moved on to cutting and styling my friends’ hair. My mom was a hair stylist and I wanted to try it out. …..I never become a cosmetologist. (Thank goodness. I had many a bald Barbies and many friends with uneven bangs.)
I even pretended to be Michael Jackson. I had the sweet red leather jacket and a single sequined glove. I knew all the dance moves to Thriller. I did not become the King of Pop, though I still like to dance.
Sometimes it can be scary to watch your child in pretend play. Watching them point a sword and chase after each other and shouting “I’m going to get you.” Watch their faces. Do they look like they are having fun? Are the smiling and laughing while being chased. If so, let it happen. If they seem unsure, it’s time to step in and check in. Do they need help setting a limit? Are they worried about something? If your child enjoys playing bad guys it doesn’t mean they will turn out to be one. Just as putting on a princess dress and twirling around, doesn’t mean your child will become a princess.
A child who loves performing check ups on you or the dog, may become a doctor or a vet. But they might also just be enjoying the play.
Playing and trying out different roles helps them to understand more about these roles. It gives them a different perspective. When children engage in dramatic play they gain many skills. They experience freedom to express and work through positive and negative feelings. They learn perspective taking, problem solving skills, social skills, communication skills and empathy. It can enrich their creativity and expression of ideas. All of these skills enhance a child’s cognitive, social, and emotional development.
…Amy Rudawsky, SYC Co-Director
This event is our biggest fundraiser for the scholarship fund and it can only happen with the help of the whole community. There’s music, good food, great conversation and all kinds of cool items. It started as a services auction; families would donate dog walking, garden consultation, childcare, fresh baked goods and the like; over the years we’ve started receiving more physical items like jewelry, art work, gift certificates and handmade crafts. One of the most fun things is walking around the tables and seeing what this amazing community has come up with. Please plan to join us Saturday, November 21st in Fellowship Hall: check in begins at 6:30. Admission to the auction is a $10 donation, volunteers are admitted free, donors receive a $5 discount. It is an adult only evening (babes in arms are welcome) and there is childcare available, see the sign up in the hallway for childcare details later in October.