Play is...

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Play is...the final project for one of my graduate courses at UND. Play is a research-supported position statement on the importance of play for young children, birth through eight years old.

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Play is… : 

Play is… Terri Longworth T&L 526 Spring 2010 University of North Dakota

PLAY : 

PLAY FOR THE FUN OF IT! TO LEARN… TO EXPLORE… TO DEVELOP…

“To change the world, start with one step. However small, the first step is hardest of all.”~Dave Matthews Band : 

“To change the world, start with one step. However small, the first step is hardest of all.”~Dave Matthews Band What would you say if I told you that there is one simple thing you can do to change the way children learn? What if I told you that you could give them opportunities to develop their physical, cognitive, language, social, emotional, reasoning, and problem-solving skills by adding one thing to their day? Would you think there is no way that one thing can change all of that? Let me lead the way….

Play is… : 

Play is… An essential element in the development of young children. Without play, children would not learn how to talk, read or write… share or make friends… build, create, explore, discover or problem solve… succeed, fail and recover, become resilient… seek or find… run, fall, get up, climb…soar! To a child, play is pleasurable, fascinating, and is a means of expression. Play itself is the means and the ends. To a parent or an educator, play is an opportunity to teach. Disappearing…there is an enormous amount of pressure put on educators to provide better test scores. This means more drills, desk work and rote memorization, even in kindergarten. Play is highly emphasized in preschool and pre-kindergarten programs, but even then there is sometimes not enough time allotted. Early childhood does not stop at kindergarten. Research has shown the best way for young children, birth through age 8 to learn is through play.

NAEYC Position Statement on Play and Developmentally Appropriate Practice (2009) : 

NAEYC Position Statement on Play and Developmentally Appropriate Practice (2009) Rather than diminishing children’s learning by reducing the time devoted to academic activities, play promotes key abilities that enable children to learn successfully. In high-level dramatic play, for example, the collaborative planning of roles and scenarios and the impulse control required to stay within the play’s constraints develop children’s self-regulation, symbolic thinking, memory, and language—capacities critical to later learning, social competence, and school success. Because of how they spend their time outside of school, many young children now lack the ability to play at the high level of complexity and engagement that affords so many cognitive, social, and emotional benefits. As a result, it is vital for early childhood settings to provide opportunities for sustained high-level play and for teachers to actively support children’s progress toward such play.

The Power of Playby David Elkind : 

The Power of Playby David Elkind If we encourage and support children’s natural observation and classification powers, they will have a solid grounding to move into experimentation when they reach adolescence. Young people have a better chance of approaching science as a matter of play and love as well as work, when experimentation is not pushed too early. (p144) Elkind, D. (2007). The power of play. Cambridge, MA:Da Capo Press

Supportive Research : 

Supportive Research Learning and play do not have to be contradictory; learning can occur during times of play. When children transition into the primary grades, they should not have to leave their childhoods behind. Appropriate instructional practices are as necessary in the elementary grades as they are in the preschool years. By examining the learning that takes place when children are allowed to make choices, encouraged to explore new materials and ideas, and given freedom to interact with one another, primary-grade teachers can better advocate for play as appropriate and effective for children's learning and development. Riley, Jeanetta G, and Rose B. Jones. Acknowledging learning through play in the primary grades: on the first day of the new school year, Micah walks into his 2nd-grade classroom. He considers the rows of freshly polished desks, the neatly stacked workbooks, and the newly sharpened pencils on the shelf. Looking perplexed, he turns to his teacher and asks, 'But where are the toys?'. Childhood Education. 86. 3 (Spring 2010): 146(4). Student Resource Center - Gold. Gale. University of ND/Chester Fritz Library. 9 May. 2010

Supportive Research : 

Supportive Research Kindergarten is a time of fairytales and dragons, and the time to wonder if they are real or pretend. Dramatic play is an important way children sort out and differentiate between the two. Dramatic play gives kindergartners the place, license, and means to experiment with fantasy and even inhabit frightening characters or events. It is the process of trying on these magical characters that allows children to gain control over a disturbing situation and begin to develop a sense of independence. Five and 6-year-olds use magical beliefs in dramatic play to help them manage the chaos of their inner and outer lives. Church, E. (2006). I have special powers. Early Childhood Today, vol. 20 issue 5, p30-33.

Supportive Research : 

Supportive Research Findings indicated that patterns in the preschoolers' profiles of play behaviors reflected conceptual, procedural, creative, or socially oriented interests and that their personal interest orientations were related to ways they participated in emergent writing activities. Row, D.W, Neitzel, C. (2010). Interest and agency in 2-and 3-year-olds’participation in emergent writing. Reading Research Quarterly, vol.45, issue 2, p169-195.

Slide 10: 

“Play fosters belonging and encourages cooperation” ~Stuart Brown, M.D. “In play a child always behaves beyond his average age, above his daily behavior. In play it is as though he were a head taller than himself” ~Lev Vygostsky “Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn” ~O. Fred Donaldson “The playing adult steps sideward into another reality; the playing child advances forward to new stages of mastery.” ~ Erik Erikson “The opposite of play is not work. It’s depression.” ~Brian Sutton-Smith