Learning Play Skills in a Therapeutic Preschool Program

There are many benefits of a therapeutic preschool program for children who experience developmental delays. So, what exactly is a therapeutic preschool program? A therapeutic preschool program provides additional support for children with developmental challenges.

Within the scope of a therapeutic preschool program, children receive specialized care in areas of key development, such as play skills, applied behavior analysis (ABA), sensory integration, feeding therapy, cognitive skills, social skills, and more. A parent may elect for their child to begin a therapeutic preschool program if they feel their child would benefit from a more supportive environment prior to beginning a kindergarten.

5 reasons play skills are crucial for children
You may not think of play skills as a serious aspect of early childhood development, however, the emergence of appropriate play skills is an extremely important milestone in brain development. In addition to the social skills associated with interactive play, play helps to build other pivotal skills. Throughout the stages of early childhood development, there are also different stages of play, which a child will acquire.

Relationship between parents and children: When parents take time from their busy schedules to play with their children, they forge a stronger relationship with their child by spending quality time together. When parents take the time to encourage play time with their children, they are creating a positive environment and relationship for their child.

Language development: As children grow, they will begin to incorporate language skills into play. Parents, therapists, and teachers can also encourage language during play time by asking the child questions or narrating what is happening. Adults can also incorporate new words into play time to help kiddos expand their vocabularies.

Social skills: Engaging in appropriate play can help children learn appropriate ways to interact with other children (and adults). For example, children will learn the importance of sharing toys, taking turns, and ways to ask others to share. These skills will also help the emotional development of children, as they will learn to show empathy for other children. For example, children will learn that it makes their classmate feel sad if they take a toy without first asking permission.

Creativity/pretend play: When children give names to their dolls or create an imaginary world with their Legos, these are positive steps in development. Pretend play, which is also one of the stages of play skill development, is a pivotal skill for children. Creativity and imagination help children to think about the world in a new way (that is good thing!).

Cognitive skills: When a child engages in play, they are building valuable cognitive skills and developing their brain. For example, they can learn cause and effect relationships and problem solving skills.

How can a therapeutic preschool program help with play skills?
Throughout the day at a therapeutic preschool program, children have many opportunities to engage with their classmates and participate in free play time. These interactions promote many key areas of development, including, but not limited to, play and social skills. These programs often specialize in early childhood development, so the team will be able to implement helpful strategies to build or improve play skills.

CST Academy is the top therapeutic preschool program in Chicago, offering many different services for children. If you think your child can benefit from this type of program, click the purple below button or call us at 773-620-7800. One of our team members would be happy to speak with you and explain more about our program!

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"After almost 2 years our son’s time at CST Academy has come to an end. The preschool program has done wonders for him. Ms Jaclyn is such a warm, kind and patient teacher. She and my son’s OT (Ms. Nikki) and ST (Ms. Erika) worked together to ensure he was meeting all of his goals. The level of collaboration between all therapies shows how dedicated they are to helping your child reach their full potential. They have all made such an impact on him, it’s amazing to see the changes since he started there. He has blossomed into a strong, confident boy who is more than prepared to start his new school in a few weeks. We will always fondly remember our time at CST Academy. Can’t recommend them enough!"
"I worked with CST Academy over a period of about 10 months. They are absolutely incredible! I also referred a friend to their program and the progress his child made just blew him away! Usually, I don’t write reviews unless I feel strongly compelled one way or the other, and in this case I do! You cannot go wrong here. I would not trust my children to anyone else. Call them and see for yourself. I have seen other programs and there is just no comparison."