We will NOT teach your 3 & 4 year olds to read (and yet...)

When we founded LᐧMᐧNᐧOᐧPlay!, Rachel and I had a few guiding principles.

First, every book we choose to share with our students has to be one that we fall in love with. Any book that is just “okay” goes right back on the shelf. The ones that we select are rich in plot, in artistic rendering, and above all, in the fact that they are filled with great lessons of life even in their most profound simplicity. These books, the ones that make the cut, are all worthy of being called works of art.

Second, we agreed that we would never teach anything that was not age appropriate. This has required a reckoning and an ability to look at every lesson plan with the willingness to strike out any elements - no matter how interesting or inspiring - that do not respect the age of the children we are working with.

Third, we agreed that everything that we do together and with the children must be built on a foundation of joy. We actually promised one another that the moment LᐧMᐧNᐧOᐧPlay! stopped being fun, we would stop doing what we do.

Each of these principles informs our daily work and has helped us to better define our goals over the last year.

Here is what is at the heart of LᐧMᐧNᐧOᐧPlay!: A deep and abiding love of literature, a belief that teaching is an art as much as it is a vocation, and a tremendous respect for each individual child’s learning process and unique personality. We are humbled that you send your children to learn with us. In return, we promise to impress upon them an enriching experience with books that is full of wonder, surprises, action, open-ended creativity, and joy.

Some parents have asked us, “Will you teach my child to read”? The answer is no and also yes. We will teach your children to be aware of the sounds/letters in words, and to understand that stories are made up of parts, and that those parts can fall like a set of dominoes tumbling down a steep hill or jump out at you in surprising and ridiculous ways. We will teach your children to make predictions when they read, to wonder about the heart and soul of their favorite characters, and to write and re-create their own stories through music, art and above all, PLAY. We will look at stories through the lens of our play-based missions as we provide space for your children to explore the importance of character building traits such as honesty, kindness and open-mindedness. We will read books that allow them to get to know characters and learn about cultures from all over the world. We will play with rhyme and rhythm. We will dance and blow bubbles and get messy because it is fun, and, because we believe that when you lose yourself in a story, it makes you want to read another and another and another.

So, while we will not teach your 3 or 4 year old how to read, we will nurture a foundation of knowledge and a love of literature that will motivate and prepare them to unlock the magical world of reading.

Annie Dycus