A Letter About Play

“Play means… exploring, talking, thinking, trying, imagining, daydreaming, inventing, risk taking, giving, sharing, making choices, working, relaxing, challenging, turn taking, pausing, running, skipping, jumping, shouting, whispering, singing, making friends, being yourself, being someone else, role playing, acting, caring, negotiating, reading, writing, counting, measuring, trying things out, feeling, leading, following, problem solving, storytelling, building, laughing, smiling and LEARNING.”

In our world when it comes to education we have to defend play. When a parent walks into a classroom and see a child playing they want to say well they are not being taught anything they are just playing. What happened to our generation that we see “play” as meaningless? I want these parents to know play is the biggest avenue we have to meet a child that has no connections to a world of learning. When a child is playing a good teacher can co-explore the learning experiences with children. Together and alone they can provide Ideas, problem solve, and have conflict resolution. And with an organized classroom approach through play we teach children to keep their belongings organized, we help them to express knowledge of their worlds around them, and we can foster connections between home, school and their community. All these things can be done while the child is actively engaged during play.

We have found that play fosters brain development. Our brain is uniquely organizing, continually growing, its building connections between learning and inspiring positive emotions. If we want optimal brain growth children need to immersed in real-life hands on, meaningful activities. The best way we know to teach this is through role play (pretend play) by encouraging play exploration.

Play has been the focus of endless research studies in early childhood. The findings have proven the importance of play in children development and have been acknowledged repeatedly as a primary vehicle of conception development and problem solving.

In play children learn how to build, sculpt, paint, read, write, and most importantly how to interact socially and emotionally with people and things all around them. Without play there is no child.

Art in Preschool

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun” – Mary Lou Cook: Author, educator and activist. As I reflected on the fact that every child learns differently. I found myself soul searching. I wanted to recall the way I learned best as a child. I recalled a memory of my childhood. It was a Sunday afternoon we had just left church and my father started scolding me after I showed him a picture I had created during service. He said, Ashley the next time I find you drawing in church you will be grounded. He went on to tell me that I could not draw and listen to the pastor talking. I watched his face get red, his mouth cross, and his eyebrows turn down. My heart began to pump so fast that fear came across my face. I was so scared to be reprimanded, that I felt the heat in my face as I put my hands over my cheeks. I was scared that my dad was going to correct me if I spoke a word out of line. And in that moment, I was scared to tell him I heard everything. As I got older I would find myself sketching during lectures in school. As time passed I discovered that doing something while I listened actually made me retain the information better than just listening.

I know the importance of art. It is Important to focus on process rather than product, because it is developmentally appropriate. The art activities pictured above demonstrates the importance of process rather than product. This is why in preschool we don’t “create” crafts. This is when a teacher leads a “art project” such as a snow man she cuts out all the pieces and assist the child in making the perfect snowman that looks just like hers. This type of projects the teacher does all the work. This means this is NOT the child’s work. Art should never look the same. A child’s art should reflect how they see something.

For example, if you take a look at the pictures above I wanted to give our children a change to make art from what they heard. I gave all the children paper, clipboards, and pencils. I simply told them today you will create art from what you hear. As you listen to the story I would like you to make a picture of what you see. It was so beautiful at the end the children had made the most beautiful detailed pictures of birds. We hung them up around our room for others to observe, enjoy and discuss. This is Art in Preschool.

TLLA Launches “Mom Tribe”

This group will be directed by “The Learning Tribe” The Little Learners Early childhood consulting group. We will meet monthly as a support group to build a tribe of mothers who encourage and educate one another on the best of Early childhood Developmentally appropriate practices. (also, great outlet for new teachers! For those needing to learn about DAP) While meeting for coffee, at wineries, or even local outings. Parenting is hard, obtaining friendships and relationships outside of our family tribe is hard. This is a support group of women who are just here for each other.

“The problem with finding friends in adulthood is that we are all exhausted and on our last pair of yoga pants. None of us have a ton of extra. Finding a tribe in this stage is like a bunch of starving people on a deserted island trying to help each other find food. It’s pretty rough. No shame or judgement here but the thing is, if you want a tribe you have to find a way to make space for those relationships.”
Join our tribe! Message me to find out how!