This summer, I spent a bit of time visiting early childhood schools in New York City and Dallas learning about the power of play and its role in early childhood learning. Children were highly engaged in learning math, science, social studies and social skills and having fun while doing so. In a recent article by Gretchen Rubin founder of the Happiness Project, she writes about how important it is for all of us to play and identify our play personality.
Take a moment to complete the play personality survey and see where you lean into when it comes to having fun at work and home.
So, if it’s so important for adults to enjoy playful activities, it’s a no brainer for our kids to engage in play throughout their school day.
As educators we all know how play supports oral language development, social negotiation, problem solving and so much more. So why are we taking the play out of learning in our Kindergarten through 3rdgrade classrooms? There is so much pressure for teachers and for our students to be able to make the “mark” in the early grades.
In a recent, August 8th, 2019, Wall Street Journal article, two professors, Pasi Sahlberg from Finland and William Doyle from the US decided to visit each other’s countries and learn about the educational system. William Doyle enrolled his seven year old son in the number one ranked school where the mantra is
“ Let the children play.” Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, Pasi enrolled his son three-year-old son, in a Cambridge Mass. preschool that required assessments to determine his son’s eligibility for entrance into a preschool program. To read the full story about their experiences and learning click here.
To what end do we as educators, parents, and policymakers begin to think about the importance of play woven throughout the day and not just for 20 minutes during recess? Ms. Heikki Happonen, principal of the Finish school where Doyle enrolled his seven-year-old child stated, “When they are moving, their brains work better.”
The power of play has many opportunities for children to develop more than social skills. As noted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, “the lifelong success of children is based on their ability to be creative and to apply the lessons learned from playing.” Identifying their play personalities and curating learning activities that cultivate curious and creative minds will serve them best today and in years to come. Let the children play.
On October 22nd, 2019, Elevate Educators will provide learning experiences for teachers to begin to implement play activities to support all major content areas for children ages four to seven. We hope you can join us as we tap into our play personalities. For more information about the workshop click here.
Founder and Facilitator