Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Value of Play

A friend (Thanks Stacy) shared this on her facebook page recently.  I love it!
 NAEYC (The National Association for the Education of Young Children)
This cartoon about the value of play was published in an article called "Wanted: Advocates for Play in the Primary Grades," by Sandra J. Stone. It appeared in the September 1995 issue of Young Children.

The name of my home-based program is quite a mouthful.  Play 'n' Learn Family Child Care and Preschool.  But it does make it clear that I value play also.  I do want to reiterate that we aren't just "letting children play" all day long with no guidance.  Yes, most of us believe in having a large chunk of time set aside for "free play".  But we put a lot of work in even that!  There is a lot of “behind the scenes” planning and incorporating activities and materials to encourage various types of learning.  We believe in setting up the environment and that’s no easy task.  Preschool teachers/early childhood professionals are NOT babysitters.  Well, maybe I should say...those of us that are truly serious about early childhood are not babysitters and we are working to help others in the field gain the education and confidence that they would consider themselves professionals and also act it.  The thought that all we do is babysit is still out there though.  Many parents/community members do not see what we really do.  I love to see the change in an individual when they finally realize just exactly how much work/time/effort we put into our programs, to meet the needs of our students and just how it effects the betterment of our community!  Many of us take work home and work many hours on prep for our students.  Many of us put our own money into our programs as we make very little in this field.  Trainings often come out of our own pockets though it's required (though we have some wonderful programs presently that are offering free or minimal cost trainings in our area!)  We definitely are not in this field to get rich...we are in it because we love children and understand the importance of early intervention/early education.
I've heard many parents ask their children "Well, what did you learn today?"  The kids say..."nothing".  Ha!  Most of us try to "educate" our families regarding the value of play and how we incorporate learning.  I was looking for the website that had the skill posters I had saved quite awhile ago.  They focused on one area such as "dramatic play" or "art" or "blocks" and stated what was being learned. If you can believe it...there is no website or even a company name on the posters!  Anyway, couldn't find them to share.  :-(   I do have them if anyone is interested.  I can send them via attachments in an email if you wish.  Anyway...at one place we worked at (Head Start-so we had parent/family volunteers more then some programs) we took skill posters like these, laminated them and taped them to the middle of our tables or near the individual centers.  These posters were for the adults/volunteers/even the primary school teachers (many teachers still do not understand the importance of early childhood or how a high quality program helps them when these students reach K, 1, 2, 3+ grades) to read and to help them realize just what kind of learning is taking place.   They are good starting points for conversation.  They covered the "basics".  As preschool teachers we add materials or arrange materials to encourage a certain type of activity/play to happen so sometimes there are even more concepts being reviewed/explored with then what is stated on the skill sheets.  Just a brief comment about elementary school and higher teachers...many don't understand...even if they are in the education field.  I find that the best teachers are those who have an early childhood background and I love the fact that many public schools are starting to require that endorsement for K-2. 

In my search for the skill posters I came across another document. http://www.nicurriculum.org.uk/docs/foundation_stage/learning_through_play_ey.pdf
Wow!  It's very nicely set up, pdf. file, 163 pages about play, and what children are learning as well as information about what materials would be good for encouraging this type of play and possible experiences to plan for, etc.  It's a LOVELY resource.  Parents-homeschooling or not-it would be beneficial for even you to browse through! 

All for now...go ahead and contact me if you are interested in seeing the individual skill posters...I'll do my best to get them to you via email!



  1. I would love to see these posters! Sounds like a great resource. slransom @ charter . net

  2. I can tell that's a great document already about play! I'm passing it on.

  3. This is a terrific visual presentation of the importance of play. It is difficult to believe how far we have moved away from this approach to early childhood education. I tried to print the poster but could only get about three quarters of it. Do you have a link to a version where I can print the whole poster?
    Thanks, johncfager@aol.com

  4. I am writing a book about the war on early childhood education. I use to be a television producer/reporter so I know the value of a good visual. This is an excellent visual that responds so well to the statement, "the children are just playing." Please send me a link to a printable version of the graphic. johncfager@aol.com