Cheri Winton Gaetz has been a long time friend and advocate for children. Last week she sent this link that certainly speaks for all of us and should be read by all of us!
In “The Case for the New Kindergarten: Challenging and Playful” by Daphna Bassok, Amy Claessens, and Mimi Engel they report that they are “troubled by the decline we have documented in the amount of time kindergartners spend on physical education, art, music, science, and social studies. We think these trends suggest that young children are being shortchanged with regard to what most of us believe are key aspects of learning.” They also echo the frustration that many early educators have because of the academic push and time spent on assessment.
Although they document the importance of “new and challenging academic content” in kindergarten, they emphasis the importance of balance…“let's focus on how to teach it in a way that is tailored to young learners. Let's focus on creating engaging, fun, developmentally appropriate learning experiences for all kindergartners, acknowledging the importance of embedding enriching language and numeracy experiences within those environments. It will certainly require effort, support, and flexibility, but it is an attainable goal with the potential for a powerful payoff.”
I wanted to cry and then shout, “THAT’S WHAT I’M TRYING TO DO!” Every day in every way! And that’s what everyone who reads my blog is TRYING to do! It’s not either – or, but both – and!
Both Academic and Play with Play Dough
Sometimes we miss the value of ordinary things that are right under our noses! I was talking to my granddaughter about what she did at school last week. She said, "I made an octopus out of clay." When I asked how many legs it had she responded, "Eight." It reminded me that play dough can be used for any unit or theme from dinosaurs to shapes to sounds to...and think about the fine motor, math, and creativity nurtured with play dough. And, best of all, it's like play for children instead of work. There you go!