Teachers In the Early Years Support Play Through:

  • creating and maintaining engaging learning spaces

  • scheduling uninterrupted time for play in both indoor and outdoor spaces

  • noticing students’ emerging thinking processes, interests and theories, and responding in ways that extend learning

  • monitoring and documenting students’ learning and development during play, and offering appropriate scaffolded learning experiences for individual students and small groups.

Articles/Blogs About the Importance of Play

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  • Facilitating Learning Through Imaginative Play |Edutopia Article | April 4, 2022 - Play is an essential part of life and can be fostered and strengthened in preschool classrooms to promote learning and growth.

  • Play-Based Activities That Build Reading Readiness |Edutopia Article | January 26, 2021 - Preschool teachers can use these activities to promote six early reading skills even as the children enjoy themselves.

  • The Building Blocks of Dramatic Play | Edutopia Article | January 5, 2021 - More than costumes or props, young children need time and space to work out the basics of how to collaborate—and their bickering is a key tool in that process.

  • Let's Call it Heroic Play |Zeroci Project | December 20, 2021 - Could my child’s pretend play be a cause for concern? On a few occasions, we witnessed and share the unease feelings of parents and educators concerning what we like to call ‘heroic play’...

Pedagogy of Play

Cultivating school cultures that value and support learning through play. The Pedagogy of Play project is in the final years of research, building towards a playful teaching and learning framework; accompanying tools and articles to help administrators, teachers, and teacher educators; and a guide for a new approach to teacher research called Playful Participatory Practice (PPR).

Play to Thrive

Play to Thrive brings different experiences and backgrounds to a shared goal of renewing the prominence of physical and intellectual play in young people’s lives as a fundamental aspect of thriving in the 21st century. It is both a treatise on play and call to action.

The core message about the how and why of helping children to learn and thrive through play is summarized in four simple declarative statements:

  • Let children play to know themselves and the world around them.

  • Let children play to learn and think for themselves.

  • Let children play to care for themselves and others.

  • Let children play to better humanity and the world

Let there be play so that children become their own and our own future.

Suggested reading: Let the Children Play by Pasi Sahlberg & William Doyle

Play To Thrive.pdf

Learning Through Play for All Students

[Pasi Sahlberg]

Run Time: 1:00.44 - Feb 23, 2021
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This video by The Future School Alliance hosts a conversation with Pasi Sahlberg that focuses on the important question of how to provide time and opportunity for learning through play for all students, not just younger children. He explains that just because we are teaching doesn’t mean children are learning and that play for all ages is powerful for wellbeing and learning. This video is recommended by Kath Murdock for all K-12 educators. This is a great accompaniment to Sahlberg’s book, Let the Children Play.


Play is More Than Fun

[Dr. Stuart Brown]

Run Time: 3:57 - Jul 20, 2009
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A pioneer in research on play, Stuart Brown says humor, games, roughhousing, flirtation and fantasy are more than just fun. Plenty of play in childhood makes for happy, smart adults -- and keeping it up can make us smarter at any age.

ABC News on Dr. Stuart Brown’s book: Play

[Dr. Stuart Brown]

Run Time: 4:36 - Sep 2, 2010
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This segment from ABC News aired March 4, 2009. Dr. Brown was profiled along with published work in National Geographic, research on Charles Whitman and the general science of play.

The Decline of Play

[Peter Gray]

Run Time: 16:03 - Jun 13, 2014
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In this talk, Dr. Peter Gray compellingly brings attention to the reality that over the past 60 years in the United States there has been a gradual but, overall dramatic decline in children's freedom to play with other children, without adult direction. Over this same period, there has been a gradual but overall dramatic increase in anxiety, depression, feelings of helplessness, suicide, and narcissism in children and adolescents. Based on his own and others' research, Dr. Gray documents why free play is essential for children's healthy social and emotional development and outlines steps through which we can bring free play back to children's lives.