I am frequently asked by parents "What do y'all do all day?". Yes, we play. It's play, but it is so much more! My friend and blogger buddy, Alec from Child's Play Music, posted a wonderful article just this week called "The Future Of Education Is Play". ( I highly encourage you to pop on over and give it a read--you'll be glad you did!) While a large majority of my posts here are about the planned activities that we do, much of our school day is unstructured free time, where students choose for themselves where and what to play. Today, I want to share a glimpse into some of what goes on in our classroom on any given day during these times.
Our morning started by preparing apples for our crockpot applesauce. (More on that and our visit from Johnny Appleseed coming soon!)
While we were preparing apples, some of the friends were working hard on putting together some large floor puzzles.
Center time was a bustle of activity today. Our "Fruit Stand" in our dramatic play was full of activity (I'm saving those pictures for a post later on our apple unit). In our math center, some of the friends made a "tower with a parking lot" with pegs, peg boards and transportation manipulatives.
Building a "cabin".
There was some farming going on in one area....
And some dollhouse play nearby.
How about this little "tv room with a wide screen tv" ?
Science Center was also quite busy today.
I noticed all the dinosaurs seemed to be carefully placed. When I asked about them, I was told they were all lining up to go see the new baby whale. Anything is possible in the mind of a preschooler!
Some friends took time to enjoy a good book.
Our classroom neighbors found this gigantic caterpillar on the playground today and shared it with us, so we stopped for a few minutes to observe him. He was several inches long and about as thick as a fat cigar. I've never seen a caterpillar this big!
This block structure was built over the course of the morning.
It started off fairly simple, and became more and more intricate as time went on.
Different parts of the structure had different purposes.
These small blocks are "ice cream for the people".
These girls are using sanding blocks to make all the blocks "feel soft".
A "secret hiding place".
It struck me funny that seemingly random arrangements were actually items carefully arranged, while the small table blocks were so carefully placed without an end purpose. Some of the most important learning going on today can't quite be captured in photographs. There was sharing, cooperation, leadership, turn taking, compromise, critical thinking, problem solving and a host of other social skills going on throughout their play today. They are learning so much more through this play than I could ever begin to teach through direct instruction. So when I'm asked, "What do y'all do all day? Do you do any 'real' work?". My answer? YES, we work. Our work is play. And play IS important!
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