play

The (Not) Problem of Repetitive Play

In my work, as in the work of many people, I imagine, there are themes that come up again and again. Sometimes I get asked a question and I can point to a blog post I wrote or an article I read months or years earlier that touches on the same subject. Little kids have […]

Play: It’s Not Just a Game, It’s a Game Changer!

You know, it’s really hard nowadays for a child to simply be a child. There’s so much pressure to perform academically, that Kindergarten has become the new first grade and preschool has become the new Kindergarten. Parents get caught up in the frenzy, worried that their children will be “behind” by the time they get […]

Educate Parents and Early Childhood Programs Will Follow

After fourteen years of teaching child care professionals and teachers about preschool learners, one of my college students, with sweet, enthusiastic innocence, told me that her threes understood the word “hypothesis.” That in her center, they teach a “word a week” to the children. And their philosophy? Their motivation? “We have to get them ready […]

“Be Careful!”: Teaching Children to Fear

girl on monkey bars 500x250

How many times do you imagine a child hears an adult say, “Be careful!”? I suspect it’s a close second to them hearing, “No!” And, if it’s a female child, it may be the number-one phrase coming at them, as studies have shown that girls are cautioned far more often than boys. This, of course, […]

Play-Based vs. Activity-Based Summer Day Camp

This is my first summer without home-based childcare. Although I work from home, keeping my seven-year-old, only child daughter home with me is not a good option because she is (as previously described on my blog) not very good at entertaining herself. I have work that I need to do, and I certainly don’t want […]

Children Were Born to Learn! Get Out of Their Way!

If we look back in history, children were once taught by sitting alongside those who were skilled at something, participating in active learning. This type of pedagogy was aligned more closely with the nature of young children. They are, after all, born learners. They may be easily distracted and unpredictable and diverse, but they all […]

Play in the “New First Grade”

kindergarten classroom

Recent news continues to highlight the increasing demands on teachers, students and families during the first year of school. Kindergarten is the “New First Grade” has been said many times during the past few years, however increased academic expectations can be met with developmentally appropriate instructional strategies…play included. The benefits of play in the new […]

Recess Rebuttal: 5 Responses for Common Excuses for Removing Playtime

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Quirky confession. When we moved to a new state and were trying to zero in on a place to land, I perused elementary school websites over and over to assess how much time they allowed for recess. That was one of my first factors to compare. It seems like a strange marker for school quality […]

A Hallelujah Kind of Childhood

Excited child

After hearing of Bev Bos’s passing earlier this year, I spent a couple of days reviewing and reflecting on her writing. A 1995 article called “JOY in Early Childhood Programs” particularly spoke to me, as it has so often in the last 20 years. Bev wrote that, sadly, joy is not often a consideration for […]

Making the Case for Outdoor Play

Jumping in leaves

Last year I was doing site visits, having been hired to observe PreK to second-grade classrooms and offer suggestions for more active learning. On two different occasions I walked into a room just as the class was scheduled to go outside to recess. But the teachers didn’t feel like going outside – so the kids […]

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