Wednesday, September 26, 2012

All In A Day's Play In Pre-K


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". 




 This is a "cave for the people".




These girls are using sanding blocks to make all the blocks "feel soft". 





A bedroom.



A "secret hiding place".









I watched as the friend playing with these table blocks arranged each block with precision. I asked about the arrangement and what he was making and was told, "I don't know yet. I'm just building it first!"





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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8 comments:

  1. Ayn what a fantastic post - those images of the block play are AMAZING! They show so clearly how important it is that children get long periods of time and space for free play. Nothing like that is going to happen in a pre-programmed 20 minute construction session (the sort of limited session that is imposed in so many mediocre programs)

    But when children get real time and real opportunity to run with ideas, they create astounding constructions and the learning that happens is totally different - REAL learning! And REAL fun (which is equally important, because learning that isn't fun is simply NOT REAL LEARNING!)

    Thanks for the link to my post too - much appreciated, and I'm getting views from your link already :) Alec.

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    1. Oh, Alec, you are welcome. You are truly inspiring! I've got a few ideas up my sleeve that I think you are really going to love!!!!

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  2. Well said Ayn! It is evident that your students are happy and learning!!

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    1. Thanks, Becky! That is a very high compliment coming from you--you are the best Pre-K teacher ever!

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  3. Love your blog and I love seeing all the different things children make out of blocks! Looks like they were having a bunch of fun!

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    1. Thanks, Brian! These creations were all in one day. They never cease to amaze me with their imaginative play!

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