Sandy Spring Friends School



Value of a Play-Based Education

At Sandy Spring Friends  Preschool, students are offered daily free play opportunities, both indoors and outdoors.

The value of play is emotional, physical, cognitive, and social. Emotionally, free-play acts as a medium for expressing thoughts and feelings. Play offers a risk-free environment that enables children to work through any stresses they may have while increasing their well-being and self-esteem. These play times, especially dramatic play, provide a venue in which children can act out issues from the outside world with their peers, including issues that confuse and/or upset them or bring them joy.

  • Emotionally, free play provides a medium for expressing thoughts and feelings. It provides a risk-free environment that enables children to work through any stresses they may have, decreasing their anxiety while increasing their sense of well-being and self-esteem.
  • Physically, play enhances both fine and gross motor development, allows children to test the limitations of their bodies, and improves self-assurance in physical abilities. 
  • Cognitively, play allows for the development of language and for creative thinking that promotes problem-solving and concept development.
  • Socially, play aids in the beginning of the decentering process that is developmentally appropriate for three-year-olds and four-year-olds.

It allows children to practice social patterns while encouraging social interactions, social respect, and responsibility. Over the course of the year, students engage less in singular and parallel play and become more interactive and collaborative with classmates.

Our Play Spaces

At Sandy Spring Friends School we offer numerous places for your child to PLAY! Watch our video to see how our preschoolers play—from the classroom to the playground.

Outdoor and Indoor Play

Outdoor play is an integral part of each school day. Students explore the preschool gardens and play area several times a day. Trips to the large sand area in the Natural Playground allow for imaginative play and discovery. The children benefit from both teacher-guided and unstructured play. Outside time provides opportunities to develop gross motor skills while exercising and playing with friends in fresh air. Class nature walks around campus are regular outings for preschool students. 

Indoor free play opportunities are available throughout the day. When not involved in a structured, small group activity, students play in one of the areas in the room.

Outdoor Space - Field
Gaga Pit