Importance of Play in PK

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Advocating for Play in Early Childhood Classrooms, by Irene Campos

As a Pre-K teacher you know the importance and benefits of purposeful play for young children. You know that creating and facilitating an environment that promotes exploration, creativity discovery and choice allows children to develop cognitive, linguistic and social and emotional skills.

At times you will be asked to justify your practice of allowing and encouraging purposeful play in your classroom. By sharing your knowledge with administrators, parents and community members you will be advocating for children's right to play.

You may be asked:

Q: What are children learning in your classroom?

The children are having important experiences with the sciences, social sciences, mathematics, literacy and the arts. The activities look and feel like play because children are active learners.

Q: If children play, then how will you cover the curriculum?

Play is one powerful way in which children learn. Research tells us that play helps young children to improve their thinking skills, social skills, language and problem solving skills. Plan events and activities that integrate the full range of subjects and learning.

Q How are you preparing the students for the rigors of the next grade?

Children have educational choices that can offer both a challenge and a chance to feel successful. When children feel successful they try harder and when they feel confident they learn more important concepts. This helps prepare children for future learning.

Q: How do you keep order in the class if the children have so many choices?

The choices are educationally important. Different children may be doing different activities at different times and have equivalent experiences in which they can feel successful. When they make choices, they feel more responsible for their activity, work harder and learn in more meaningful and playful ways.

(Source: Teaching in the K year, Heroman and Copple Adapted from D.P. Fromberg, Play and Meaning in Early Childhood Education (Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2002) 131–2. Copyright © 2002 Pearson Education.)

CLICK TO READ: Defining and Advocating for Play

Knowing that there are numerous definitions of play and its role in young children's development and learning, NAEYC invited several early childhood educators to write their own definitions.

**CLICK RO READ** Assess & Scaffold Make Believe Play

"Make-believe play is an important and unique context, providing opportunities to learn not afforded by other classroom activities. It should not be considered something extra that can be cut to accommodate more time for academic skills."


When education goes wrong: Dr. Nancy Carlsson Paige at TEDxTheCalhounSchool