The day had finally come! The Horizons room had been preparing for the Sweetheart Dance for weeks. The children had proudly made invitations, decorating and hand-writing notes that were sent to their families. They also sent invitations to their senior friends at the Gatesworth community, whom they had been visiting throughout the year. The children had even decorated the room with handmade paper chains and hearts, as well as prepared snacks to share with their visitors. Now the only thing left to do was enjoy the day with their families, teachers, and friends! Several girls enjoyed twirling around gracefully in ball gowns, while the boys mischievously scampered around the room teasing the girls. When one of their classmates became upset, several children gathered around and helped comfort their friend. At the end of the day, the Horizons class came together to make the Sweetheart Dance a great success!
Values and Character Development: Compassion and empathy are two essential parts of a person’s character. The children showed their appreciation to both their families and the seniors by inviting them to the dance and preparing for the event. In this way, these preschoolers acted compassionately by thinking about their guests’ needs and showing gratitude for all they had done for them. They also empathized with a fellow classmate who was upset and showed compassion by comforting their friend.
Literacy Development: Writing is a very important early literacy skill. By making their own invitations, the children explored how to use written language to communicate with others and share ideas. These emergent literacy skills will be extremely helpful as they continue in their development and education.
Psychodynamic Development: As children enter the preschool age, they become better able to take initiative. In this case, the Horizons class stepped outside of their own perspectives and took the initiative to organize and host a party for their families and friends. As children become more social, they gain the ability to understand group and cooperative play. This coincides with the decrease in egocentrism that children usually experience as they enter the late preschool years.
Children at this age also begin to identify themselves as boys and girls, taking on and experimenting with traditional gender roles. Here, the girls dressed up in dresses and danced gracefully, comfortable with their developing femininity. The boys’ excess energy in this situation demonstrated their discomfort with the increasing gender difference. This is an identity dilemma that these children will revisit during adolescence.