Tag Archives: Play

PLC Series: The Essential Benefits of Free Play

Welcome to the Heinemann PD Professional Learning Community Series. This month, we share conversation about the role and necessity of play in learning.


"The skills that are hard to learn, and far more important, are how to get along well with other people, how to control our own emotions and behavior, and how to think creatively yet logically. "  -Peter Gray


What is the effect of the decrease in play on children? 

Children learn through play by nature; they need play to experiment with problem solving, deal with fear, exercise imagination, learn self control and so much more. In this powerful article from the Heinemann Digital Library, Boston College research professor of psychology Peter Gray makes a strong case for the essential benefits of play.  Continue reading

PLC Series: Play as a Priority

Welcome to the Heinemann PD Professional Learning Community Series. This month, we share conversation about the role and necessity of play in learning.

One of the biggest challenges teachers have is prioritizing what goes into the classroom schedule. Often, elements held in our hearts as high priority get pushed aside due to priorities of other decision makers. Play is one such element, one that is not only a right of childhood, but an experience that develops and enhances children as humans and curious learners.

Continue reading

The Importance of Choice Time Play

ChoiceTime_MG5D9022-2

Early childhood educators have always understood the importance of play—in all its many forms—in the lives of their students. Guided play takes place in a purposeful environment that’s been carefully planned to stimulate and support children’s curiosity and creativity. As students interact with one another and the materials, teachers observe, record, confer, occasionally participate, or facilitate, and they use this information to plan next steps. However, the children decide how they will explore and interact with the materials, not the teachers. 

Continue reading

Guided Play in the Classroom: Where Teaching and Play Intersect

ChoiceTime_MG5D8991

Early childhood educators have always understood the importance of play—in all its many forms—in the lives of their students. Free play is spontaneous and filled with make-believe as children pursue the fantasies of their unencumbered imaginations. A twig becomes the sword of a swashbuckling pirate, or a piece of flowing fabric is transformed into a superhero’s cape or the gown of a fairy princess. Free play is entirely child directed and free of adult intervention. Guided play takes place in a purposeful environment that’s been carefully planned to stimulate and support children’s curiosity and creativity. As students interact with one another and the materials, teachers observe, record, confer, occasionally participate, or facilitate, and they use this information to plan next steps. However, the children decide how they will explore and interact with the materials, not the teachers. 

Continue reading

The Heinemann Podcast: Choice Time

ChoiceTime_MG5D9012How do you define play and choice time in early childhood classrooms? According to Renée Dinnerstein, play is an engine that drives learning. She writes, "during choice time, children choose to play in a variety of centers that have been carefully designed and equipped to scaffold children’s natural instinct for play.” In her book Choice Time, Renée gives us everything we need to set up choice-time centers that promote inquiry-based, guided play in a classroom. Renée also summarizes the research, describing the different kinds of play and why they are important. She says by giving your students choice time, and allowing them to engage in joyful, important, playful, age-appropriate work will empower them to become lifelong learners. 

Continue reading

Play

What Do You Talk About With Different Kinds Of Play?

Purposeful Play_SM_MG5D3801

In Purposeful Play, Kristi Mraz, Alison Porcelli, and Cheryl Tyler list the different types of play and the most productive conversation that can come from each. When students are playing outside—what Cheryl calls "rough and tumble play" in today's video—the conversation becomes one about empathy, negotiation, and problem-solving. In games with rules, kids learn and talk about self-control, self-regulation, and what it means to win or lose.

Purposeful Play: A Teacher's Guide to Igniting Deep and Joyful Learning Across the Day is the newest book from authors Kristi Mraz, Alison Porcelli, and Cheryl Tyler. "We believe there is play in work and work in play," write the three coauthors. "It helps to have practical ways to carry that mindset into all aspects of curriculum."

Continue reading