“Play is the road to childhood happiness and adult brilliance.”
– Joseph Chilton Pearce
As a kindergarten teacher, I often get questions from incoming parents about how my students spend their time in our classroom. I tell them that we spend a good part of our day learning through play in centres, and by that, I mean they actually get a significant chunk of time to play. On any given day, some of the choices my students may have include building with blocks or trains, exploring coloured water with funnels and pitchers, “baking” cookies with playdoh, giving a “manicure” at the salon or exploring with paint. What is setup in our centres often comes from conversations the children have either directly with me or that I overhear between them. I value play in early learning and I believe in giving my students choice in where they play, what materials they use, who they play with and how long that play lasts. I believe “choice” is a key element in play because I know firsthand that what is play for others (like going for a run) is work for me and things that I consider to be play (like writing this blog post) might be work for many others!
If you are interested in learning more about play and learning, there are many great resources out there. As a starting point, try watching Stuart Brown’s TED Talk or reading his book Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul. You never know, it just may change the way you think about play.
If you have a different favourite resource about play, please share it in the comment section below. Thanks!