Protecting Kindergarten is a privilege and a responsibility. Many Kindergarten teachers will tell you that they long for the days when playing and socializing were at the heart of the young child's learning experience. Our ongoing challenge is to protect what we know is best for young children, while meeting the changing demands and needs of 21st century learners. Instead of giving up and wishing to turn back time, my constant mission is to find the overlap, and the potential, to integrate play into thoughtful learning opportunities.
When people ask me how I find the time to integrate play, or how I help others understand the importance, my answer always stems from looking at the big picture. People do not always understand the importance of play, and the way it is deeply connected to the needs of all learners in the 21st century. We must always begin with the why of what we do. When we make our intentions and reasoning very clear, it is difficult to argue. At the heart of this process is including families in the experience of learning.
This week, I am using Adobe Spark Pages to communicate with families. Instead of a homework sheet, or a long written explanation, this visual format allows families to engage in learning experiences with their child. It creates a direct flow between home and school, and supports children in the transfer of learning. Although it looks fancy to create, Adobe Spark makes it easy to develop beautiful resources which can be updated each year to meet the needs of specific classes.
Within this Page you will find:
A preview of upcoming activities to prepare learners
A variety of meaningful opportunities to connect home and school
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As professionals we are constantly evaluating our responsibility to children. I believe that we also need to consider the responsibility we have to families. Teaching and parenting are both demanding jobs. Instead of becoming frustrated about finding time in the school day, we can find ways to extend and expand learning so that we are not limited to time and space within the physical classroom. In this way, we help parents to understand their deeper role as well. As we educate children, we can educate families, caregivers, and fellow professionals on the importance of our work. Through our thoughtful approach to learning we may continue #innovatingplay in early childhood, and redefining the educational experience.
Heart & Soul,