Technique 89 – Understand play as a teaching tool… because it is!
Play during the years from birth through age five is not pre-learning. It is true learning. It is a vehicle for layer upon layer of important knowledge. Academic information in general and reading and math in particular should and will emerge through play exposure and experiences in the early years.
Here are some principles behind this concept.
- Play can start out as one activity and then develop into another. One idea leads to another and then continues to grow in depth. Remember the popular game of playing store? It can start with a few simple empty cereal boxes and milk containers and then end up with a full set of inventory, prices, play money, and even receipts.
- It is 100 percent active. When you see it, you will know it. It takes your child’s complete attention and concentration and is based on total engagement that comes from a genuine inner desire to do the activity.
- In true play the focus is on the activity and not on the goal. It often entails both symbolic (abstract) thinking and representational (make-believe) behavior. It has rules that arise from the play itself, not from anyone or anything outside the play situation.
True play takes a long time. It is not something that you can rush or schedule. Once you see your child busy at it, do what you can to guard this time so that he or she can be as free as possible to take the play to each and every natural higher level.
April! The Month of Volunteering
“It is possible to give without loving, but it is impossible to love without giving.”
~ Richard Braunstein
American writer and educator