it’s “only” play

I think one of the biggest challenges with play-based learning is helping people understand what “play-based” really means. It does not mean “free-for-all.” It doesn’t mean “unstructured” and it certainly isn’t “a waste of time.” I think teachers in play-based programs will agree that the materials we put out for children to play with are intentional. Play in our classrooms always has a purpose. When we are tuned-in to what children are playing, we can help extend their learning by asking that one question or making a suggestion that they might find too irresistible to pass up. The writing, experimenting, observing and creating has meaning to them so hey, it’s IMPORTANT!  Then there are those serendipitous moments when the children take their learning in a direction you just didn’t see coming and that’s nothing less than magical!

2 thoughts on “it’s “only” play

  1. I have to agree that play-based learning is misunderstood but on the other hand it’s impossible for parents to know everything. We are not all ECEs – we are doctors, accountants, graphic designers, cooks, architects, maids, mechanics, engineers… Until we are have kids, we have no clue about Reggio, Montessori, play-based, academic-based, early literacy. As you do on this blog, teach us what you do, how play based preschool is different than playing at home, give us examples of learning in action. I’m in the midst of finding a preschool for my son… the sheer amount of choice can be confusing. Also, remember not all schools are created equal – not all ECEs are as tuned in as you seem to be. As a parent you really do have to do your homework in order to be able to differentiate the different between a playschool and a play-based preschool – and to be honest I never knew there was a difference before three months ago.

    Keep the information coming about play-based education and you’ll be teaching not only our children but ourselves.

    • Thanks for your comment. One of the main reasons I started the blog was not only to document my journey, but to help parents understand how much learning actually happens through play. There is sometimes a misconception that we don’t teach reading, writing and math skills, but we do. It’s done in both large and small groups. I teach Kindergarten, so I have expectations to meet as children progress through the program. I guess the main difference is that I don’t give follow-up worksheets, but I do intentionally put out certain materials for the children to explore as a means to extend their learning. My job is to observe, listen, and ask questions to help them demonstrate what they know. I hope the blog helps.

      There are several wonderful blogs about play-based learning. I will be adding more to my blogroll soon. In the meantime, I hope you have a chance to visit some of the ones listed.

      Good luck and best wishes as you look for a preschool for your son.

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