Thursday, June 21, 2012

In Defense of PLAY

The day I often thought might never arrive has come.  My students have departed.  My classroom is empty, save for a box of garbage bags.  One of my fourth grade kiddos just popped over for a visit and I sent him off with the chore of putting my worms in the car. Now it's time to make the jump back to kindergarten.  

One of the kindergarten teachers just passed me her sacred file of articles defending play  for children.  She knew I would give it a place of honor in my desk, keeping it near for when childhood needs to be rescued from the constantly increasing demands of test preparation and increased standards.  The truth is, I consider play to be preparation for tests, reading, math, writing, and navigating tricky social waters.
After my post about homework I felt as though I needed to follow up a bit.  Though I don't like dictating what children should do when they are home, I want to recognize all the learning that takes place in the joyful act of play.  I wanted to wait until I had time to really dive into this and the time has come. 

In the next few blogs I will be looking at the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts and Math as well as the NEXT GEN Standards for Math and connecting common play activities to the standards.  Let me just start with a quickie.

From the Common Core Reading Standards for Literature Key Ideas and Details K-5:
Kindergartners will:  
Ask and answer questions about key details in the text.
Kind of a no-brainer here, my kids ask me questions about EVERYTHING we read. Nothing is taken for granted. Now as a teacher I can encourage folks ask and answer questions about the books they read with their kids. I won't ask them to document the questions and answers.
Retell familiar stories.
Sounds like car ride conversation to me.
Identify characters, settings, and major events in a story. 
This sounds like the dramatic play area, puppets tell of Hansel and Gretel's adventures, colorful drawings can detail settings.

Learning doesn't have to be "work."  It doesn't have to take place on a "worksheet," though I am chastened to remember that some kids actually do well with the support of a worksheet and therefore swallow the bitter pill of handing them out occasionally.

Enough for today, time to "play" in the garden....

1 comment:

  1. You are a brilliant teacher! Your philosophies are like my philosophies.