Children learn more and dig deeper when allowed more time. I’ll give you examples from today.
In short periods of time the children will go in the dress up area and shuffle around dishes and literally change in and out of costumes. Given more time the play gets deeper. The children arrange a play scape of drinking coffee and watching a movie. They use real life experiences and past knowledge. These girls were drinking hot coffee – you can tell. Look how they are holding it. They are watching Bigfoot Family and talking about what is happening. There is no TV in that room but there are remotes. The conversation was rich and fun. As a teacher a watch and see if they need my help navigating or add expanded vocabulary such as yesterday, cafe and brew.
Another play situation I observed today was in the block area. We know this has been a popular place for ramp building and setting up domino type structures and watching them fall. On top of the shelf has been a sign that says stop. Almost everything in our environment is not only there for aesthetics but also purposeful play. Today a couple of boys took the sign down and added it to their play. I asked what the sign said – they replied stop. That is environmental print – the first steps to reading.
There are some days in this job I get revelation. after revelation that play is the way to teach. It always has been. It always will. I wish I had learned this earlier.