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Schools Look for Balance Between Play and Rigorous Learning in Kindergarten

Schools Look for Medium Between Play and Rigorous Learning in Kindergarten Classrooms

Although research continues to suggest that allowing for play in the classroom is important for the growth of young learners, schools are trying to keep up with academic demands as well.

Researchers and educators alike agree that young learners benefit from both rigorous academic instruction and time to play, but many schools are torn on how much time should be dedicated to one or the other.

In one Baltimore, M.D. district, "321 kindergarten teachers last month attended training sessions on the new curriculum. Required each day: 25 minutes of recess, 20 minutes of movement, 25 minutes in play centers. The district is buying sand or water tables, blocks, play kitchens, easels and art supplies for every classroom that does not have them," according to The New York Times.

Moves such as this are in an attempt to reverse trends to skip on play time to teach young learners straightforward academic lessons in line with the Common Core. Educators are looking to now continue such lessons but to add in creative play.

"'People think if you do one thing you can’t do the other,' said Nell Duke, a professor of education at the University of Michigan. 'It really is a false dichotomy," the article said. "[M]any veteran kindergarten teachers, as well as most academic researchers, say they have long known that children learn best when they are allowed ample time to go shopping at a pretend grocery store or figure out how to build bridges with wooden blocks," according to the Times.

Certainly, the Common Core Standards state play as a valuable activity for kindergartners, so the task for educators now is to find a way to include both.

Read the full article here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

06/11/2015

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