January 31, 2016

Work Hard. . .Play Harder

This has been a transformational year in my teaching career. Besides starting a Forest Kindergarten program (and absolutely loving every minute of it, see Tales From the Trails ), my teaching style, beliefs, and implementation have all evolved to include something many consider taboo: play. 

Walk past my classroom at any point of the day and you have a high chance of seeing children at play. While the increased rigor of required curriculum and the ever-increasing expectations put on children at an earlier and earlier age, one might think I am wasting my time and putting my students at a disadvantage.

I couldn't disagree more.

In our classroom, we work hard and play harder. In fact, for chidren, play is work. Play is not something too avoid or push aside, It is to be embraced, implicitly practiced, observed, and practiced again and again and again. I am not just an observer. I am a participator. I am a player too.

Play allows for creativity, problem-solving, communication, and collaboration. These concepts are at the core of the buzz words 21st Century Skills. Its not rocket science though. Children can reach these goals when they are allowed to be children.

I could present research-based articles and insight from professionals in the field until the cows come home (where'd they go anyways?) but instead, I invite you to come to my indoor or outdoor classroom and play. You might just learn something. My kids certainly are!

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