Everywhere I go teachers say, "How can we help administrators and parents understand the value of play?" If you go to this link you'll find my "Cliff's Notes" version of the value of play.
IT LOOKS LIKE I’M PLAYING BUT….
Make center signs with descriptions similar to those below. When parents, supervisors, or administrators come to your room and say, "It looks like they are playing..." invite them to walk around the room and they'll discover what children are learning as they play.
Dramatic Play – It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing social skills, emotional skills, independence, oral language, my imagination, responsibility, and the executive function. I may use these skills as a mother, father, safety officer, or politician one day.
Blocks - It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing motor skills, math concepts (number, size, shape, space), oral language, social skills. eye-hand coordination, self control, and my imagination. I may be a builder or architect when I’m grown.
Art – It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing my creativity, small motor skills, problem solving, sharing, cooperation, independence and responsibility. I may use these skills as an artist, illustrator, or designer one day.
Math - It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing oral language,; social skills, small motor skills, concepts about quantity, shape, size, pattern, and an interest in math. I may use these tools as a computer programmer, accountant, or mathematician in the future.
Science - It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing a curiosity about the world, sensory skills, problem solving, language skills, and experience with the scientific process (observing, predicting, experimenting, recording, reporting). If I’m a doctor, lab technician, pharmacist, or landscaper I will utilize these skills.
Table Toys - It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing small muscles, eye-hand coordination, attention span, social skills, and concepts about size, shape, color pattern. I might use these skills as a chef or dentist one day.
Language – It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing oral language, alphabet knowledge, print connections, phonological awareness, visual skills, book knowledge, phonics; motivation to read. No matter what I become when I grow it, it will be important to know how to read.
Writing - It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing eye-hand coordination, small motor skills, alphabet knowledge, self confidence, vocabulary, and an interest in print. I might use these skills one day as a journalist, administrative assistant, or poet.
Library - It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing alphabet knowledge, oral language, print knowledge, listening skills, eye-hand coordination, concepts about the world, and the desire to read. Maybe I’ll be a publisher, author, or librarian when I grow up.
Hint! Take photos of your students engaged in the different centers and make a book that you can share with your families.