When I Play I Am Learning

Learning Through Play

*      when I paint at the easel, I am learning…
*      to develop my imagination and creativity.
*      eye-hand coordination, helpful for learning to write.
*      the names of colors and how to make new colors.
*      to distinguish shapes, and purposely create shapes.
*      to notice patterns from background, necessary for learning to read.
*      to express my feelings and ideas.
*      that my ideas have value.
*      relationships of space and size, necessary for mathematics.
*      concepts of symmetry, balance and design.
When I play with Playdough, I am learning…
*      to see the shape against the background of the table, a reading skill.
*      concepts of shapes, relative sizes, big, small, length, height, etc.
*      to see negative space when cookie cutter shapes are taken away.
*      to express feelings, squeezing and pounding.
*      to exercise my imagination and creativity.
*      that the amount of a substance remains the same, even when the shape changes.
When I play with water, I am learning…
*      that some things sink and some things float.
*      to observe changes as water takes different form in different containers.
*      about different temperatures.
*      about wet, dry, and evaporation.
*      what happens when you add soap.
*      eye-hand coordination as I learn to pour.
*      concepts of empty and full, volume and weight, relevant to mathematics.
When I sort things, I am learning…
*      to notice details and similarities and differences in objects.
*      to form categories, essential concepts for reading and mathematics.
*      concepts of color, size and shape.
*      numerical concepts or more and less.
*      logical reasoning.

When I play with blocks, cars and trucks, I am learning…
*      concepts of shape, size, length and location, all relative to learning to reason and do mathematics.
*      to create and repeat patterns, a math skills.
*      to exercise my imagination.
*      to express my ideas.
*      to cooperate with others.
*      to solve problems.
*      about the properties of wood.
*      to see myself from a different perspective, that of a giant.
When I play on the climbing equipment, I am learning…
*      self confidence as I develop new skills.
*      physical strength, coordination and balance.
*      to use my imagination.
*      to cooperate with others when involved in some dramatic play.
*      to solve problems.
When I play in the dress up corner, I am learning…
*      to be flexible in my thinking.
*      to express myself in sentences.
*      to try on different adult roles.
*      to solve problems, especially socially, through negotiation with friends.
*      to sort and organize play things.
*      to make decisions.
*      to improvise and use things in a symbolic way to represent something else…a form of abstract thinking.
*      to carry out my ideas, with the cooperation of others.
*      to exercise my imagination and creativity.
Reprinted from WHEN I PLAY I AM LEARNING, written by Karen Miller, Children’s World National Director of Education

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