Preschoolers need structure to know what’s expected of them, to give them a sense of order and security, and to help them learn to follow a routine. Structure can make children’s lives feel safer and more dependable. On the other hand, preschoolers also need time that isn’t scheduled or highly planned. Unstructured time is developmentally important because it gives children time to be free—to think, dream, or relax.
Here at The Kids Club we have developed a very balanced approach.
Reasons for Structure
Preschool children like daily routines. Clinical psychologist Dr. Laura Markham explains, “A predictable routine allows children to feel safe and to develop a sense of mastery in handling their lives.” When children know things will happen at certain times, it gives them a sense of security and helps them develop self-discipline.
A structured environment is beneficial because it helps preschoolers:
- feel in control of their lives
- learn about order and organization
- feel more secure
- understand boundaries and limits
- know exactly what is expected of them and when
- develop self-discipline.
Some benefits of free time include the opportunity for preschoolers to:
- develop their creativity
- experiment with imaginative play
- rest and relax
- discover their talents and abilities
- try out activities that interest them
- Preschoolers need unstructured time to learn how things work, solve problems, use their imaginations, and practice skills they’ve recently learned. And most of all, they need time to just be kids!