“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning.
But for children play is serious learning.
Play is really the work of childhood.”

~Mr. Rogers~

The dinosaurs are congregating.
They don’t look happy.

“They need to be fed.  They need food.
Don’t worry.  I’m getting leaves ready for them.”

“We need more cones.
We have to block off the construction site.”

“Jennie, we used every block.  Every one.
We sealed off the tower with trucks and cones.
Can you take our picture?”

This is how children figure things out.  Problem solving, working together, and critical divergent thinking are rooted in play.  Teachers step aside.  Sometimes the best learning happens when things don’t go right- when another child took some of the cones, and when the amazing tower was threatened to be knocked down.

Did I intervene?  Absolutely not.  No one was  hurt.  It was up to the children to figure it out.  Honestly, it is one of the hardest things for a teacher to do, but also one of the most important.

I’m in the middle of the busiest time in the school year, writing children’s observations.  It is purposeful that we focus on social and emotional first.  We’re growing the next generation, and if they can’t get along with others and problem solve, they’ll never have a chance to use their academic skills later on down the road.

Life Skills-101.  Play hard!


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty-five years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I was a live guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show. I am highlighted in the seventh edition of Jim Trelease's million-copy bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital, and the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
This entry was posted in Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Imagination, Inspiration, preschool, School, Teaching young children and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

83 Responses to Play

  1. So true Jennie, and even as adults we need to keep that going! Love how happy the little lads are.

  2. barbtaub says:

    Love this!

    I used to get my kids out of bed each morning and tell them it was time to go to work. My son told me years later it was a big shock to find out his dad got paid for his work (when he wasn’t even on the chores-points list).

  3. Carla says:

    I love this post. I loved watching children play when I ventured into the JK and SK rooms to visit. They have the best imagination.

  4. beth says:

    yes, to play and I’m writing my observations as well. you are spot on with the skills needed before being able to do anything else.

  5. Dan Antion says:

    Play is so important, Jennie. I’m glad you know this and allow the children the room they need to grow.

  6. beetleypete says:

    So good to see them cooperating to achieve results. At their age, I find that very impressive.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  7. Hello Jennie! I hope you are fine, and enjoy the weekend of Pentecost? Yes, “learning by doing”, “trial and error”, all these of our adult sayings are to true. Thank you for sharing your experiences, again! Enjoy wonderful days. Michael

  8. Ritu says:

    Yes, Jennie! Play is everything at this age!

  9. Love Alone says:

    Reblogged this on Love and Love Alone.

  10. quiall says:

    Life lesson – play hard. That is brilliant! And so very true. My mother would often take away my books and force me to go outside and play. I didn’t understand as a child but I do as an adult.

  11. So true Jennie! Play is an essential part of children’s growth and development!

  12. mimionlife says:

    I love playing. Sharing time with grandson Rowan and granddaughter Eden bring the best moments. Sometimes I think the neighborhood children think I am a child, too, and that is wonderful. 🙂

  13. Problem solving and creativity are such important activities for children. I’m so thankful that I didn’t grow up with gadgets to keep me entertained and a TV to be parked in front of. My brother and sisters and I spent hours making our own fun and creating things. I think it did us a lot of good. Nowadays, children don’t always have the opportunity to think for themselves. So creative play and problem solving in Kindergarten is a very good thing.

  14. Don Ostertag says:

    Great advise, Jennie, for kids and adults, even old fogies like me.

  15. Excellent, Jenny. Thank you.

  16. Ellen says:

    An excellent reminder of the value and necessity of play. Love the accompanying photos! One of the first things that I gave to Benjamin’s mother, long before his birth, was the 2013 book “Two Thousand Kisses a Day” by L.R. Knost. I read it too! This treasure was found in its pages : “For a child, it is in the simplicity of play that the complexity of life is sorted like puzzle pieces joined together to make sense of the world.” Thank-you!

  17. I couldn’t agree more! Play is serious learning.

  18. They did great! You’re never to old to play. 😀

  19. petespringerauthor says:

    I’m so glad that you mentioned working together. One of the most underrated parts of playing is how kids learn to work together, negotiate, see other’s points of view, and understand that there is more power when a group works together.

  20. TanGental says:

    I must still be learning then!! #playrulesok!

  21. so many times people lose sight of the importance of play. of the importance of children’s social and emotional well begin. of the need for them to negotiate on their own. I’m tired of hearing about the possible academic losses over the last year a 3 months. let’s focus on what they gained. children slowed down. they played more, read more, they talked more… your post reminds us to look at the more and not the less

  22. K.L. Hale says:

    Work hard, play hard! Oh, the skills and fun. Now, if we could all keep that sense of wonderment as we age. ♥️

  23. Ren says:

    You are so right! I often have play time with a 4 and nearly 6 year old. What you speak of, about play time, is what I experience in our play time. Play is serious stuff. It is Real!! There is much growth and learning (for all of us!) during play time.

  24. frenchc1955 says:

    Play is wonderful for children, and those who are a bit further along in age!

  25. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    Here is a wonderful post on the importance of play for children by the excellent teacher, Jennie.

  26. What a terrific post about playing, Jennie. Children do learn a lot from play, especially in groups. I can remember learning from older children when we all used to play together at the local park. This sort of socialising doesn’t happen as much in South Africa anymore, there is to much crime and kids have no freedom.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Robbie. Yes, there is much children learn from play. It’s their work. The socializing and freedom today isn’t the same, particularly in bigger cities, and that is sad.

  27. Great to be reminded of the power of play. We do forget as adults sometimes.

  28. Roshni says:

    Yes……play is important. Children can grow with play

  29. well said-and i so love that genius, Fred Rogers.

  30. dgkaye says:

    Absolutely the best way to learn. ❤

  31. Play is where writers develop their organic skills of world-building, character-making, and story-telling designs. It is the fertile field of the Arts where NOTHING is wrong with what hat you try on…and from that our geniuses are formed…Play on!

  32. Pingback: Play – Love & Love Alone

  33. Norah says:

    Definitely! Great quote supported by a great post. I love those photographs of children at work. Perfect!

  34. So true, playing get a lot of worries off the mind,as my mom will see,we all have time when we display our madness.those are the time we are our real self, you can be childish or call it what you like,all I know is letting the inner joy out is joyous

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