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“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning.” This quote from Mister Rogers emphasizes the importance of play in children's learning and development. Through play, children engage and interact with the world around them. This month's newsletter explores the benefits of play and how it can help foster a child's development.

Importance of Play

In this video, Dr. Jeffrey Trawick-Smith of Eastern Connecticut State University speaks to how play nurtures many important aspects in early childhood: from social development to language to emotional well-being to motor coordination, and more. He also discusses the importance of pretend play. This video serves as an introduction to a series of videos showing examples of dramatic play centers being implemented in preschool classrooms to support children's learning and development. Additional videos and resources can be accessed here.

This video delves into the importance of pretend play and how this form of play expands learning opportunities and fosters exploration.

After having your students watch the videos described above, consider asking them:
  • What are the benefits of pretend play? How might it contribute to a child's development?
  • What is one limitation of toys and how might open-ended objects (like blocks, clay, crayons, paper, etc) bolster a child's development?  

Overview of Play: Its Uses and Importance in Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education

This article presents a review about the importance of play in early intervention, early childhood special education, and early childhood education and how play is regarded and used within these contexts.

Five Essentials to Meaningful Play

Joyful play experiences help to increase connection between children and their families. This NAEYC article delves into five crucial elements to meaningful play. Some essentials include: children make their own decisions, and play is spontaneous, not scripted. This article can be shared with families and students alike; it encourages one to reflect on the nature of play and how it can be enhanced.

Consider posing the following questions to your students:
  • What other essentials to meaningful play can you think of?
  • Are there any considerations that you would add to the discussion when taking into account children with disabilities? 

Relevant NAEYC Standards

This newsletter covered outdoor learning which has relevance to the following NAEYC standards:
  • Standard 1 (Relationships): The program promotes positive relationships among all children and adults. 
  • Standard 2 (Curriculum): The program implements a curriculum that is consistent with its goals for children and promotes learning and development in each of the following areas: social, emotional, physical, language, and cognitive.
  • Standard 3 (Teaching): The program uses developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate and effective teaching approaches that enhance each child’s learning and development in the context of the curriculum goals. 
  • Standard 7 (Families): The program establishes and maintains collaborative relationships with each child’s family to foster children’s development in all settings.
  • Standard 9 (Physical Environment): The program has a safe and healthful environment that provides appropriate and well-maintained indoor and outdoor physical environments. 

DEC Recommended Practices

The DEC Recommended practices includes a domain on the environment, interaction and family.

Upcoming Events and Webinars

STEM Learning for Each and Every Child
November 17, 2022

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