Sunday, April 17, 2016

Can Students Still Play and Learn in Kindergarten?



Kindergartens Ringing the Bell for Play Inside the Classroom

An Article from The New York Times, June 9, 2015

Linda:  I read the above article about incorporating play with the Common Core standards and thought back over my 35-year teaching career in kindergarten.  When I first started teaching, my classroom had “centers” for blocks, housekeeping, art, play dough, and even puppets but so many of those areas shrunk or were deleted altogether to make room for a guided reading station, a table for the Waterford program computers, and a large data cabinet for wiring and a TV monitor for announcements.

Lisa:  When Linda and I began teaching together back around 1990, we had half-day kindergarten with a morning and afternoon class for 2 1/2 hours each.  Our students learned the consonant letters and sounds for reading and number identification for 0 - 10 for math!!!  No Child Left Behind changed all that and now we have a full-day K program for 7 hours/day.  Our kinders continuously amaze us on just how far they can go with reading and math! 

Linda:  Now with CCSS, have we put too much emphasis on academic skills?  Is there still time for play?  Are social skills being ignored?  Every year around budget time, our district thinks about reducing Art, Music, and P.E. in favor of more academic time for all students.  A sad situation but we have been able to hang onto these special area teachers, unlike many schools around the country. 

Lisa:  There has to be a balance between academic work and play for these 5 and 6 year olds.  So I try to include time for play and for art whenever possible.  I still have a block corner which is a great learning place for social skills!  Now I also include paper and pencils in that center for labeling the creations and I use different art activities for our KinderLit books.  Gone are the days of setting out the painting easels every afternoon!  But I give the children the opportunity to be creative through our bookmaking.   

Look at the social skills and geometry going on here!


Future architects! 


Marble painting for our Colors Colors Look What I See book.  When we are done with the brown page for our books, we leave the mess out to give the children more time to play!
How do you include play in your day?  Please share your ideas and plans in the comment section below - we all need to help each other!
  
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Update Notice!
We have added more recording pages to our One-and-Done project, Wishy-Washy.  There are also pages for your students to write about their own bath time!  If you have purchased Wishy-Washy in the past, please visit your page My Purchases in your account and download the latest version!  There is no cost to you for any update on TpT!   
Happy Teaching!

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