Kinder play centers

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by txmomteacher2, Jun 20, 2013.

  1. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Connoisseur

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    Jun 20, 2013

    I know I should put this in the kinder group but I think I will get more response here. I taught kinder about 6 years ago. That year all of us kinder teachers agreed we had too much to learn so we took out our play centers and put in academic center time. Now I'm teaching kinder again this year in a different district. It will be my 5 th year here so not new to district just grade level. This school still has kinder play centers. I so badly want them out of my room. I just came from teaching 4 years of first grade and many of my kids were very far behind academically. I'm not saying its because they did play centers. I know they have a value but I just feel that with so many things that they need to learn master and achieve in kinde I just don't think we will ever have time for them. Most of my fellow kinder teachers are of the mind set that they are babies and we should let them play. I'm of the mind set that too much to do no time for play centers let keep it academic and still get the socialization they need by working in groups during the academic centers. What is your opinion???
     
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  3. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Jun 20, 2013

    I incorporate both. My housekeeping center has plates with words to match the food and notepads to take orders and add up the totals-after they do that task, I let them just play the remainder of their workstation time. I have a dollhouse that I use for oral language development-they have things that these kids don't know, like chimneys and fireplace pokers--developing vocabulary. They play for 10 minutes and then write a story about what they played.

    One of my theories of why kids are having more issues today is that they never learn how to really get along with each other. This allows me to give them that time and also justify an objective when the powers-that-be ask what skill they are working on.
     
  4. mkbren88

    mkbren88 Cohort

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    Jun 20, 2013

    I do all academic based centers, and then allow for 20 minutes at the end of the day for choice play.
     
  5. jteachette

    jteachette Comrade

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    Jun 20, 2013

    :thumb:
    I agree with this. There are so many ways that you can modify "play" centers so that you are hitting academic targets. Do you have puzzles in your play centers? Make sure to have alphabet, number, and sequencing puzzles.
    Put stick puppets with characters from the story for the week in the puppet theater and let the children retell the story.
    Have the children tally how many of each block they use when they are building something in the block are a, and graph it.
    I taught preschool for many years. I had "play" stations that taught skills, and some just for socialization. Children need to practice both!
     
  6. Teacher Chele

    Teacher Chele Habitué

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    Jun 20, 2013

    There are lots of ways to incorporate academics into play centers. It seems hard to balance it, but they need social skills that play brings. There are certainly a lot of people on here with great ideas to help with this.
     
  7. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Jun 21, 2013

    Children learn best through play. Take a look at Piaget. K age is not really ready for a full academic schedule. Play and hands on will help them learn much better.

    I agree with Teacher Chele. Ask away and we will help you.
     
  8. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Jun 21, 2013

    I don't want to get on my soap box too much, but kids at this age NEED to play. They need to gain the social and emotional skills needed to become good human beings which they do through play. Yes, there is (in my opinion) too much pressure to get kids reading in kindergarten so teachers feel like they can't let them play, which is a mistake in the long run. I believe if you let them play more and sit less you will have a lot less behavior problems and more real learning. Of course, I am coming from an early childhood perspective as to what is developmentally appropriate for 5 year olds.

    As previous posters have said, you can structure free play activities to include a lot of learning opportunities.

    I think what has happened in kindergartens in the last decade is very sad for children.

    I just remembered - this is a great article on the power of play:

    http://www.ooeygooey.com/handouts/crashcourse.pdf
     
  9. kab164

    kab164 Companion

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    Jun 21, 2013

    interesting because just today our local newspaper had an article about Finnish teachers that visited our area. The single biggest thing they said was different is how much more recess and play time their kids get. Their children also start school older and don't have all the standardized testing we do. It was very interesting since you asked about play. In general, I do think we are expecting too much and younger all the time. As my fellow 1st grade teacher likes to say, "They aren't going to Harvard tomorrow!"
     
  10. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Jun 21, 2013

    When I taught kindergarten, I had free choice time for the last 30 minutes of the school day. With that being said, I decided to remove most of my larger pieces of play furniture, such as the kitchen set. I did not set my classroom up into "centers." Instead I had about 3 big shelves or organization centers that contained all of the toys and manipulatives. In my opinion, it was more important to have a large classroom library, which my students would use all day, versus a large play kitchen area that they would use for 30 minutes.

    With that being said, I would strongly recommend that you try to incorporate social skills into your day if you're going to take out play. It is truly frightening teaching 2nd-graders who lack even the most basic social skills (my current school does not allow play in kindergarten).
     
  11. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Jun 22, 2013

    If you have a degree in ECE, you have learned how children learn. A degree in ED seems to teach you how to teach children. Is that an accurate view?
     
  12. Lobo

    Lobo Rookie

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    Jun 22, 2013

    I can cite numerous articles if you need them on the importance of play in primary grades (contact me if you need them.) The reason we are seeing behavior issues in older grades is because children are not getting the social development they need early on. Part of the job of a K teacher is to teach them how to live with each other in the school environment. We have the difficult task of also covering all the standards and mandated curriculum as well. But that is what we signed up for as a K teacher. Make your play area a literacy center by creating a restaurant. They can create menus, role play, do simple computation. Just because it's play doesn't mean you can't hit on the curriculum too.
     
  13. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Jun 22, 2013

    Lobo said it well. Create interest centers based upon your curriculum.
     

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