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Do we need to redefine "play"?

Posted by: Rhonda August 4, 2015

As a company whose philosophy is deeply rooted in what is best for children, we love hearing your comments and questions. Here’s a recent response to our booklet The Wisdom of Play from Mary Ann Biermeier of INSPIRE, Early Childhood Leadership Series:

Thank you for this timely publication. As educators, we sometimes find the word "play" to be a clumsy pairing with education. Parents would rather connect with the word "rigor". After decades and decades of research directly connecting play with learning, we have yet to successfully articulate to both parents and educational policy makers the value of play-based learning. How can we connect the research with the reality of early childhood education?

Perhaps we need to redefine the word “play”. Maybe its meaning has been distorted by sports, electronic entertainment, and inappropriate educational standards. If so, then the term "play-based learning" should be replaced with something like "active learning".

I would be interested in what our community thinks about this war on words. Can we restore meaning to the word “play” or do we need to find a new way to articulate what we feel is the best way for kids to learn?

What do you think? Join the discussion on our Facebook page.