Young children, particularly those within the 4-7 range learn from play as a matter of course. This ingrained attribute is one that educators can mine for the purpose of creative lesson planning. Although, it takes a willingness to step out of the normal constraints of the institutional box. Obviously, the idea is not to let the kids run rampant in a classroom free for all. But, teachers of subjects that normally lend themselves to tightly adhered to structure, like English and Mathematics, can borrow a page from the normally less constrained disciplines, like art. As with art lessons, teachers can opt to offer materials and options, rather than hard and fast dos and musts. Grading can be more of a portfolio system. Students may have to work harder, potentially fail and be more frustrated, but also experience a richer reward.

Key Takeaways:

  • Children 4-7, in particular, learn by playing, which can be leveraged by educators into teachable moments.
  • Because of institutional pressures, it can be hard for educators to let go and let play happen.
  • Educators can promote a play-like environment by skewing their teaching style to more closely resemble that of an art teacher.

“Playgrounds encourage kids to explore and play together, and create new games alone or collaborate with their peers.”

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