Play-based learning doesn’t come home in a backpack

by Deborah Stewart, M.Ed.

My students have been with me for two weeks now and yet everyday, their back packs have gone home pretty much empty.

​If my parents didn’t know me well, they might think that their child isn’t learning anything.
The reason it is hard to send home anything in the back pack is because nothing fits.

I can’t send home how we learned to find our own name at the sign-in table. I can’t send home how we learned to serve our own snack. And I can’t send home how we are getting more comfortable and confident in our daily routines every single day.

I can’t send home the beautiful castle four of the children built together. And I can’t send home the large canvas all the children painted so beautifully together as a community.

I can’t send home the giggles of the children when our puppet comes out to speak to us. And I can’t send home the vinegar and baking soda experiments my students have been exploring since the first day of school.

No, the things we have been learning are WAY TOO BIG for our back packs.

However, I have been sending home a few things like wet sleeves from the water table, sandy rocks in pockets, paint speckles on faces, and a few worms have made their way home here and there.

Oh, and I suspect that a few songs are being sung on the car ride home along with the story of how we saw a huge spiderweb in the tree outside.

Yes, if you looked inside our backpacks, it would seem like we haven’t been learning but if you look outside of the backpack, you will see cooperation, friendship, independence, collaboration, discovery, testing, questioning, trial and error, confidence, exploration, and play.

We recently talked about planning for play in the Honey Bee Hive. See what these Honey Bee Hive Teachers have to say about how their planning has changed since viewing the lesson plan videos I shared.

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By |2018-11-02T10:16:51-04:00September 7th, 2018|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.
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