Our Preschoolers Don’t Get Puzzled by Puzzles!

A puzzle stack at Mulford School

A puzzle stack at Mulford School

When was the last time you completed a puzzle? If you are a student at Mulford School, it was just a few days ago. Puzzles are part of the Mulford Method* of teaching, and we consider them an essential part of every child’s development.

First and foremost, puzzle time at Mulford seeks to give students a sense of accomplishment. We want them to feel successful for using their skills to figure something out and seeing it through to completion. Puzzles also:

  • Promote Pre-Math Skills: Students see how parts of an object fit together to create a whole, establishing a sense of order
  • Foster Independence: A puzzle’s self-correcting nature lets kids monitor their own progress without adult assistance
  • Require Patience: It takes time and focus to disassemble and reassemble a puzzle.
  • Reinforce Routines: At Mulford, puzzle time has many steps. First, the student needs to remove all of the pieces and alert the teacher they are ready to begin. Then, they get started on putting it back together. Finally, they alert the teacher of their progress.
  • Promote Fine Motor Skills: Preschooler hands need to use many muscles to move puzzle pieces into their place.

During the first part of the year, each student completes puzzles during morning puzzle time – which is the first activity of the day, after they arrive at school. After the holiday break, their work is tracked on a “puzzle card.” Each time a student completes a puzzle independently, they receive a special stamp on their card – furthering their feeling of accomplishment and success. Puzzles are customized for each student.

Bring the learning home! We suggest always making puzzles available to your children at home. Here are some other games that reinforce some of the same cognitive skills:

  • Memory: This is a great game for understanding patterns, and, well, for increasing memory!
  • Mosaics: Have your preschooler cut small pieces of paper. Draw a heart or another shape on a different piece of paper, and have them glue to make their own mosaic piece.

And remember, when your student completes a puzzle, or any other challenging activity, celebrate their accomplishment! Hang their completed Mulford puzzle card in a special place!

Curious about puzzle time at Mulford? Send us a note or comment below!

* Did You Know? “The Mulford Method” is a published, copyrighted preschool teaching methodology. It was written by Mrs. Mulford in 1960, and has been the official curriculum of the school ever since.


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