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 Hive. See what these Hive Teachers have to say about how their planning has changed since viewing the lesson plan videos I shared.