My mailbox has been overflowing with people sending me the links to two articles published recently on learning through play. Many of those people have been the parents of our students sending the link along with effusive “thank yous” for providing their children with such an incredible developmentally appropriate place for learning at CCNS. I wanted to make sure to provide the links to these important articles.
Please read David Kohn’s article featured in the New York Times, Let the Kids Learn Through Play.
As well as an article recently published in Psychology Today by Peter Gray, Early Academic Training Produces Long Term Harm
A third related article from the Washington Post last month by Valerie Strauss, Report Debunks ‘earlier is better’ academic instruction for young children analyzes a report written by Dr. Lillian Katz. This report and the article summarizing it make a distinction between academic goals and intellectual goals. It is helpful to understand that the debate is not simply between play and academic goals. Dr. Katz reports,”An appropriate curriculum for young children is one that includes the focus on supporting children’s in-born intellectual dispositions, their natural inclinations.” She goes on to support teaching basic academic skills within extended project work when children are using these skills to discover areas of interest to them as with this method children are deeply motivated.
CCNS is one of the few schools to extensively use The Project Approach with our preschoolers and Project Practice in our twos program. I received training directly from Dr. Katz herself and continued this training under the guidance of Dr. Judy Helm. The staff at CCNS has been working over the years to refine this practice with our students combining creative and stimulating play opportunities with astute observations of children’s interests. When an interest arises that can be developed in to a project interesting to the children we follow their lead. It is an exciting process that encompasses many facets of learning. One of our projects was featured in the Judy Helm’s newest book, Becoming Young Thinkers:Deep Project Work in the Classroom.
The parents sending me the links to the above articles prefaced their emails with comments such as:
“proof for what you are doing at CCNS”
“I’m so glad my child had the opportunity to learn this way.”
“We are so grateful that the staff of CCNS understands how children learn.”
So if your child is currently enrolled at CCNS, take a moment to feel really good about your decision to send your child to a school that highly values the importance of play combined with intellectual dispositions.
If you are reading this and are not currently enrolled, contact Tracy King at firstname.lastname@example.org and give your child the gift of learning through play.