Play through learning. Play = Learning. Play is learning. These are the variations of the play mantra that was repeated by researchers and early childhood educators last week at the annual professional development institute held by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
More than 2,000 people attended the institute, which was held in Charlotte, N.C. Several of the presentations are now available online in a searchable directory on the NAEYC web site, which, by the way, received a major face lift last week to make it easier to navigate. Here are a few of the sessions that caught our eye (they cannot be directly hyperlinked but you can get to them by searching by author's name):
- Guided Play - A Contradiction? Insights From Montessori, Reggio Emilia, and Tools of the Mind, a symposium with presentations by Mon Cochran, Angeline Lillard, Rebecca New, Elena Bodrova and others
- Building Language Through Play: The teacher's role as a conversational partner, by Janice Greenberg
- Play and the Construction of Scientific Knowledge in Preschool, by Victoria Fu,
Lynn Ann Wolf and others
The play theme is one we've sounded here multiple times at Early Ed Watch too, as we hope to encourage policies that give educators the training and flexibility to teach children in ways that are developmentally appropriate and academically challenging at the same time. Ours isn't a "just let ‘em play" philosophy so much as it is a creed that says: "just incorporate play everywhere you can."