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.
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Thank you, Deborah, for another fantastic month of learning! My takeaway this month was “never come to circle time empty handed!” I put this concept into practice last week and the children loved it – they were so engaged in our story and circle time activities. I read a story about a freckled frog and his fish friend and all the other “F” things they found on their adventure. Prior to starting the story the children all chose a “f” object from the basket which I then included in the story. We also included the objects in some of our songs, in a disappearing object game (thanks for the idea Jamie) and later in the block center.
I love everything you present. It is very worthwhile. I am excited every week to log in to the Hive and see what you have planned. I love the book corner too! I’m always looking for new ideas. We did the baking soda and vinegar thing. The children and I made baking soda ghosts in an chocolate mold tray. (Yes we froze them.) We filled a mini cauldron half full of vinegar and put a few drops of food coloring in the vinegar. The kids loved it when they dropped the ghost in the vinegar and the cauldron fizzled over. Amanda Morgan was amazing. I love that I can listen to her over and over again. One day I hope you can just do a section on just what songs and finger plays that you teach in your classroom. Have you got any cute Christmas songs up your sleeve?
I loved the backstage pass and seeing your daily routines and centers in action! I would love to see more of that in the coming months so keep it coming! Also, after hearing about your experience putting baking soda and vinegar out for the kids to explore, I actually tried it in my classroom last week. My co-teacher and I were a little nervous that it would be a disaster but guess what? The kids handled it very well and absolutely loved it! I would have never thought to give them that much independence with something like that. I’m going to try the sink and float experiment next week. So much good stuff!