Bringing Play Back to Kindergarten

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by MzMooreTeaches, Aug 9, 2014.

  1. MzMooreTeaches

    MzMooreTeaches Cohort

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    Aug 9, 2014

    I'm slightly disappointed with myself. We recently just finished our first kindergarten screening in many years. I feel that for the parents who showed up that thing went pretty well. They asked great questions, they seem engaged, they were nodding their heads etc.

    BUT I feel like I failed. It's my 5th year teaching and I feel like i'm a robot. I feel like with the way that learning has become that in all of my discussion I never mentioned that the students would be able to learn through play... in fact its true the way that things are set up, there is very little time and opportunity to create it unless its done through centers. I graduated from a program that emphasized and pushed the concept that students learn best when they are happy, engaged, playing in a meaningful environment.

    As I look at my classroom I am working hard to bring play back to the classroom. I am on a personal mission to bring the dramatic play kitchen set back to the classroom as well as a possible block center. I will incorporate all of the important aspects into the centers, sight word matching, beginning sound matching etc. BUT our students need the opportunity to learn valuable social skills that can only be taught as students have more independent time to structure their own conversations without teachers leading every conversation that they have.

    What do you all think? Are there other kindergarten classrooms that have a kitchen set? How do you win admin and possible parents over after I just discussed with many of them how they would not see a dramatic play center?
     
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  3. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I do have a kitchen set and a dollhouse. I think it's good for vocabulary and oral language development (we have a high LEP population) and I can tie it in academically. With the kitchen set they are taking orders and writing it down on order pads. With the dollhouse I let them play for about 10 minutes and then they write down the story they made up playing. I have always had blocks-no one, parents or admins have ever complained. It's one of our math workstations-spatial reasoning. ;)
     
  4. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    It always makes me so sad when I see the kindergarten classrooms in my school. I will never agree with kindergarten becoming the new first grade. Never.
     
  5. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I had a kitchen set, various blocks, and other 'toys' including some dolls and Barbies. We had 30 minutes of "Free Choice" time every day. This was last year.
     
  6. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    It's so hard to fit it in, and even more sad that it's banned in so many schools. When I taught kindergarten we stopped what we were doing at 2:30 every day and the kids played. This gave them a solid 30 minutes of play time. I loved doing it at the end of the day, because I could send a quick email to a parent, write a note, or talk to a child about a behavior concern. Plus, the kids were DONE at that point!
     
  7. MzMooreTeaches

    MzMooreTeaches Cohort

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    Thanks everyone. I wouldn't go as far as to say its banned, they just aren't present in kindergarten classrooms. We have pre-k at our school and all four of those rooms have one. KinderCowgirl our blocks are integrated into a center very much like yours working with math. Our schedule is so tight that we do not have a dedicated this is free center/playtime unless it rains and we choose to stay inside and play. It's really sad because this year with kindergarten screenings I noticed that our already high Hispanic, Vietnamese and African population has sky rocketed. They will truly need this center. Those were my ideas on how they would integrate it into their learning experiences.

    I just hope that I can find a kitchen play set so I am able to do it. I would be nervous to push it as far as getting dolls, but I am going to take it one step at a time. It was just disheartening when I got home and realized I went to school to learn that children learn best through play and I have become programed to do the exact opposite due to all the changes.
     
  8. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I would like to respectfully ask you all to read this article. I think it'll help you understand why play time is so incredibly important for kids.

    I tend to have a different opinion on this topic than the majority of my colleagues have.

    I should've phrased my comment more effectively. I meant to say that I think the article will help everyone understand why play time is extremely important! :blush:
     
  9. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I think most teachers understand the importance of playtime for children. But since it doesn't fit neatly on a multiple choice test...
     
  10. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I was going to say the same thing. We work with young children, we know. The powers-that-be are the ones that don't understand. They ordered new furniture for us one year, it came as a package-"Kinder furniture". Well, some of our admins wanted to send back the kitchen equipment, discovery tables, etc. We fought to keep it and the only way we still have it is we can justify it to them is to do so academically. Honestly, they don't care about educating the whole child anymore as gr3teacher said-you can't measure that with data so for them it doesn't exist.
     
  11. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I should've phrased my comment more effectively. I meant to say that I think the article will help everyone understand why play time is extremely important! :blush:
     
  12. MzMooreTeaches

    MzMooreTeaches Cohort

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    Aug 10, 2014

    In all honesty on the kindergarten level we understand that play is it important... but we begin to fill that we can't incorporate it as much due to everything that the curriculum demands. While my principal has never made me feel that I can't incorporate play more, it would make me feel more at ease if she mentioned to kinders that it is okay to incorporate it when and where necessary. OR if kinders already had some more play like furniture in our classrooms already.
     

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