Open Discussion Forum

  • 1.  How to help young teachers advocate for play?

    Posted 05-15-2017 04:42 PM
    How can we, as a community, help young teachers advocate for play in their classrooms to make the gap between the ideals of play students are taught and classroom reality narrower?

    Dorothy Sluss
    James Madison University
    Harrisonburg, VA

  • 2.  RE: How to help young teachers advocate for play?

    Posted 05-16-2017 06:11 AM
    This is such an important issue. We are losing the battle to preserve childhood. In order to make a case for play in the classroom, teachers need to be armed with the research that supports play, healthy child development and social skills development. This information seems to be getting lost in a sea of bad practice based on test prep and test scores. All teachers and administrators need to understand the research and be able to market free play and developmentally appropriate practice with the same tenacity that Pearson markets its' tests and test prep curriculum.

    Elizabeth Allen
    Lewis Center OH

  • 3.  RE: How to help young teachers advocate for play?

    Posted 05-16-2017 10:14 AM
    We need to use the science of learning.  A great resource is the book-Understanding How Young Children Learn: Bringing the Science of Child Development to the Classroom by Wendy Ostroff.  Post information in your classrooms and in your newsletters.  Show learning through your observations and through photos of the children.  Scaffold the learning about child development among the families of your children and among your colleagues.

    Mary Joslin
    Exeland WI

  • 4.  RE: How to help young teachers advocate for play?

    Posted 05-16-2017 10:46 AM
    I think we need to get information to them about the crucial role of play for brain development. Children need neural structures if they are to learn much, but the role of play in brain development is not well understood.

    Jack Wright
    Success With Children
    St. Ignatius MT

  • 5.  RE: How to help young teachers advocate for play?

    Posted 05-16-2017 11:14 AM
    Could you explain what you mean by the gap between play ideal and reality?

    Michael Knuckey
    Children''s House Preschool
    Boulder CO

  • 6.  RE: How to help young teachers advocate for play?

    Posted 05-16-2017 05:33 PM
    One great resource on this issue is Defending the Early Years, DEFENDING THE EARLY YEARS.  
    In addition, some of us have been working with NAEYC for several years to encourage it to take on more leadership in this area.  NAEYC has responded with more emphasis on developmentally appropriate practice, especially in public education classrooms.  NAEYC has quite a few materials available through their bookshop on these matters.  Even so, we hope that NAEYC will get out in front more publicly, perhaps working with NEA and AFT, to promote play as the best way to help young children get engaged with enthusiasm in the learning process.  It would benefit all of us to learn more from NAEYC about their progress in these efforts.

    DEFENDING THE EARLY YEARS remove preview
    Introducing our brand new Fact Sheets on testing and young children, just in time for "testing season," created in cooperation with FairTest .

    John Surr
    Charlottesville, VA

  • 7.  RE: How to help young teachers advocate for play?

    Posted 05-17-2017 08:06 PM
    As a young educator I have felt very lucky to have gotten my hands on many resources from NAEYC and universities that have researched the importance of play on the brain. Just as what many have said before me, the most important way to close the gap would be to provide educated resources that explain the importance of play on brain development, social emotional development, and physical development. Going beyond the research it would also be beneficial to use the early learning standards to support the skills they use and exercise during play. Another way to close this gap would also be to educate the parents of the children we teach so they can understand why the teachers have provided a play time. It is also important to explain how teachers scaffold learning during play and what teachable moments can be provided in this time. We know that children, especially at the younger ages, learn the best through play and providing times to explore to use all of their senses is how we can set a strong foundation for the future of their education. I say all of this because in the last few years, older and wiser educators have done and provided all of this for me to succeed in this area of my career now.

    Bethany Webster
    Pontiac MI