background preloader

It's All About Play

Facebook Twitter

HQ Kindergarten. SEL & APL LEARNING STANDARDS FINAL DRAFT for PDF 1 12 15. In Mass. schools, a focus on well-being. READING — The only sound that could be heard in Maria Simon’s first-grade classroom one December morning was the soothing hum from a vibrating Tibetan singing bowl.

In Mass. schools, a focus on well-being

Her students had gathered on a brightly colored rug at the back of the classroom, sitting with their eyes shut, their legs crossed, and their arms extended outward palms up. Each time a classmate struck the small bowl with a mallet — releasing a low sounding gong — the students breathed in. Then as the sound faded away, they breathed out. The exercise lasted about five minutes, and they started their math lesson.

Advertisement “It helps give us a few minutes of peace and quiet so we can focus on our work,” said one student, Grace Hayes. Recess Too Short for Analytical Thinking, Play Expert Asserts - Early Years. Report debunks ‘earlier is better’ academic instruction for young children. Four- and 5-year-old students listen to their teacher, Angie Clark, read at a Des Moines elementary school in 2011.

Report debunks ‘earlier is better’ academic instruction for young children

(Steve Pope/AP) The debate about appropriate curriculum for young children generally centers on two options: free play and basic activities vs. straight academics (which is what many kindergartens across the country have adopted, often reducing or eliminating time for play). A new report, “Lively Minds: Distinctions between academic versus intellectual goals for young children,” offers a new way to look at what is appropriate in early childhood education.

The report was written by Lilian G. Katz, professor emerita of early childhood education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she is on the staff of the Clearinghouse on Early Education and Parenting. Katz writes that longitudinal studies of the effects of different kinds of preschool curriculum models debunk the seemingly common-sense notion that “earlier is better” in terms of academic instruction. As Children’s Freedom Has Declined, So Has Their Creativity. Less-structured time in children's daily lives predicts self-directed executive functioning. Kindergarten has changed: Less time for play, more time for standardized tests. Photo illustration by James Emmerman.

Kindergarten has changed: Less time for play, more time for standardized tests.

Photo by Thinkstock. One of the first times New Orleans kindergarten teacher Molly Mansel gave her class a computer-based standardized test last fall, the 30 5-year-olds didn’t know how to take it. The children, raised in the era of the mighty touchscreen, were instructed to use a computer mouse to take the test. Instead, they kept trying to swipe the laptop screens like they were iPhones. Recent research out of the University of Virginia shows that contemporary kindergarten teachers spend much more time teaching academic skills—skills that are often tested—than they did 15 years ago. Mansel’s students started taking tests just three weeks into the 2014–15 school year.

The rest of the demanding testing schedule involves repeated administrations of two different school-mandated tests. Too much homework? Study shows elementary kids get 3 times more than they should. Parents, you aren't imagining it: Your kids may be struggling with too much homework.

Too much homework? Study shows elementary kids get 3 times more than they should

Just in time for back-to-school season, a new study has revealed that elementary school students get three times more homework than is recommended for children their age. Let the Kids Learn Through Play. Photo.

Let the Kids Learn Through Play

All Work and No Play: Why Your Kids Are More Anxious, Depressed - Esther Entin. For more than fifty years, children's free play time has been continually declining, and it's keeping them from turning into confident adults What are your memories of playing as a child?

All Work and No Play: Why Your Kids Are More Anxious, Depressed - Esther Entin

Some of us will remember hide and seek, house, tag, and red rover red rover. Putting Play Back in Kindergarten Curricula. Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children Play is making a comeback in kindergarten classes located in the Maryland suburb of Pasadena, according to a recent New York Times article, “Kindergartens Ringing the Bell for Play Inside the Classroom.”

Putting Play Back in Kindergarten Curricula

But support for play varies based on class-related ideas about what children need most: more play or more academics. Describing Pasadena’s new approach to play, the Times writes: Fun and Play are Good for Kindergarten – What a Surprise. The headline in today’s Chicago Tribune reads “Fun plays a part in learning, study says” in the print edition and “Focus on play in kindergarten may improve grades” online.

Fun and Play are Good for Kindergarten – What a Surprise

Who knew? Well, I did, along with pretty much anyone who has taught preschool or kindergarten. Dare I say, even first and second grade teachers know this in their hearts? Literally constructing knowledge According to the article in the Tribune, the Tools of the Mind program and others that approach educating young learners in a similar way are not hard to implement. Why so many kids can’t sit still in school today. The Centers for Disease Control tells us that in recent years there has been a jump in the percentage of young people diagnosed with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD: 7.8 percent in 2003 to 9.5 percent in 2007 and to 11 percent in 2011.

Why so many kids can’t sit still in school today

The reasons for the rise are multiple, and include changes in diagnostic criteria, medication treatment and more awareness of the condition. In the following post, Angela Hanscom, a pediatric occupational therapist and the founder of TimberNook, a nature-based development program designed to foster creativity and independent play outdoors in New England, suggests yet another reason more children are being diagnosed with ADHD, whether or not they really have it: the amount of time kids are forced to sit while they are in school.

This appeared on the TimberNook blog. Let ‘Em Out! The Many Benefits of Outdoor Play In Kindergarten. For the typical American kindergartner, unstructured free play during the school day consists of 20 to 30 minutes of recess, and perhaps some time at indoor “stations” — perhaps creating with building blocks, costumes, or musical instruments.

Let ‘Em Out! The Many Benefits of Outdoor Play In Kindergarten

But what if there was more? What if the answer to “what did you do in school today?” Was, “I climbed a tree, played in the mud, built a fire”? That is exactly the kind of learning going on in the Swiss Waldkindergartens, or forest kindergartens, where children ages four to seven spend all of their school days playing outdoors, no matter the weather. With no explicit math or literacy taught until first grade, the Swiss have no set goals for kindergartners beyond a few measurements, like using scissors and writing one’s own name. Why Kindergarten in Finland Is All About Playtime (and Why That Could Be More Stimulating Than the Common Core) “The changes to kindergarten make me sick,” a veteran teacher in Arkansas recently admitted to me. “Think about what you did in first grade—that’s what my 5-year-old babies are expected to do.”

The difference between first grade and kindergarten may not seem like much, but what I remember about my first-grade experience in the mid-90s doesn’t match the kindergarten she described in her email: three and a half hours of daily literacy instruction, an hour and a half of daily math instruction, 20 minutes of daily “physical activity time” (officially banned from being called “recess”) and two 56-question standardized tests in literacy and math—on the fourth week of school. That American friend—who teaches 20 students without an aide—has fought to integrate 30 minutes of “station time” into the literacy block, which includes “blocks, science, magnetic letters, play dough with letter stamps to practice words, books, and storytelling.” A working paper, “Is Kindergarten the New First Grade? ED504839.

MCMResearchSummary. Play and Children's Learning. Global School Play Day Reminds Us Of The Importance of Play - Work in Progress. We Don’t Need to Get Rid of Common Core to Have Play in Kindergarten. My first experience in elementary school was magical. My kindergarten teacher Mrs. Mantz was friendly and warm, and I remember meeting my first friend, Marwa, in the play area. I showed her around the kitchen pointing and telling her the names of different plastic foods as we played. Kindergarten was Marwa’s first experience in school and she was just beginning to learn English. Our time together in the play kitchen– or what I would later learn to refer to as the dramatic play center–developed her language skills as well as my own. Now, I enjoy observing young children read their environment and discover written words and new vocabulary through play when I have the opportunity to visit elementary schools. Literacy and reading are everywhere– that’s the incredible thing about teaching young children to build language, listening, and reading skills.

Teachers use learning standards to develop instructional strategies and an enriching environment to foster literacy skills. With less stress and more free time. I was 21 and naïve. I had been offered a long-term job as a computer teacher at an urban elementary school outside of Boston, and I jumped at the opportunity—even thought I knew nothing about teaching. I had just graduated from college without taking a single education course.

As a substitute teacher, I wanted to get my feet wet in a school setting, and see if I could make a career out of teaching. The principal assured me that the classroom teachers would join me for the lessons. And I liked this idea of collaborating with other teachers. Why Playworks. Playworks’ vision is that one day every child in America will get to play—every day. Nature preschools and kindergartens: Getting kids moving. IN THE BACK OF THE FARMHOUSE at Drumlin Farm Community Preschool in Lincoln sit five chickens surrounded by a gaggle of preschoolers — eyes wide, waiting. The teacher opens the egg box door, and the students, staying slow and small like they were taught, peer in. “And when they find an egg there,” says Paula Goodwin, director of the school, “we ask them to make a nest with their hand, and they very gently pass the egg from one to another.

And it’s a very special time, because they don’t need a lot of special instructions except to look for a child whose hands are in the shape of a nest. So it isn’t a formal sharing lesson, but each child cherishes that egg and very gently passes it to the next person without question. It’s one of the magical moments in the school year.