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  • 1.  Play

    Posted 09-21-2018 09:35 AM
    Recently I had a teacher ask me how to “teach play” to 2-5 year old children. How should I respond to this teacher?

    Sent from my iPhone

  • 2.  RE: Play

    Posted 09-22-2018 12:27 AM
    That's a very valid question! I'm finding more children lack the ability to join peers in play. Also, I'm seeing less imaginative play in my students today versus 20 years ago. Students aren't able to play in roaming groups where big kids teach younger ones. I am also struggling with teaching appropriate play to my students with Autism.

    One of the best ways is to play with the kids! Think out loud when you play with them, ask leading questions about their play. Also reading stories about friends playing together helps.

    Heather Finnegan
    Preschool Teacher
    Our Redeemer Lutheran Church with School
    Delavan WI

  • 3.  RE: Play

    Posted 09-22-2018 01:46 AM
    I would think the first step is to suggest that the teacher observe carefully as the children play in a developmentally appropriate environment and see if she can identify what the children are interested in and what they might be learning as they explore their interests. The question suggests that she would benefit from a coach or supervisor who could guide her observations and discuss what she learns from them. A course in child development would be a good accompaniment to this strategy. Again, this teacher would probably need some facilitation and guidance in his/her efforts to understand how young children learn through their play.

    Rachel Samoff
    Palo Alto CA

  • 4.  RE: Play

    Posted 09-22-2018 04:07 AM
    Excellent opportunity to introduce him/her to scaffolding and the importance of identifying learning styles. Also to the value of play and facilitating play.

    jacqueline downing
    founder Dir
    Sudbury MA

  • 5.  RE: Play

    Posted 09-22-2018 06:52 AM
    Is she seeing the children use materials inappropriately? A lot of children in our classrooms unfortunately use tablets and watch TV a majority of the time, or they play outside and don't know how to interact and explore. Or they may be coming from a place of trauma and are fearful.
    In the beginning of the year, I severely limit the materials available to 3-4 per interest area. Blocks and Dramatic Play are opened at different times. This is so we can monitor play and show them how to use the materials. Sometimes I'll put out task cards to give children visual cues to follow. Just yesterday, I showed a child who was throwing Blocks one of the diagrams on the wall and and asked if he could recreate it. In DP, we'll do lots of modeling. I also recommend the book "Dot" for confidence in art.
    Some children do need to be taught how to play, but it's worth it to see their growth at the end of the year!

    Amy Latta
    Lead NC PreK Teacher
    "All that is gold does not glitter; not all who wander are lost." --J.R.R. Tolkien

  • 6.  RE: Play

    Posted 09-23-2018 11:48 PM

    For the teacher who asked how to teach play. I would start by focusing on the interests of the children in his/her care. Ask the teacher what do her children enjoy doing? What items are they most interested in? Once this is identified the teacher can "teach play" according to her students interest. If she wants to focus on "individual" or "parallel" play then she would need to take a different approach.

    Hope this helps:-)