You may have heard that in our class we call playtime "Thinking and Learning" time. That's because play is the way that children learn their best! When children are playing they are observing, creating, problem solving, cooperating, and learning to work together.
Recently, I observed many of the students in our class were having a hard time settling into a particular activity. Some students were doing the same activity every day, with the same group of peers.
In an attempt to elevate the play, I introduced Play Plans. Before we go to Thinking and Learning time, we sit in a circle and all of the students think about what they would like to do with their time. We go around the circle and each child shares what their plan is. This gives me an opportunity ask questions about their plan like where they will play and who will join them. I can spot some possible problems, like too many children at one activity, and have the students make suggestions for solutions before the problem arrises. It also allows me to direct students to where they can find any supplies they may need. This helps students to be more independent at getting organized for play.
Since we have been creating Play Plans, I have noticed that students are much more purposeful in their play, are playing with a wider variety of playmates, getting along better and demonstrating greater independence.
Here are some of the activities that were happening today during Thinking and Learning time.
|Painting on the Buddha Board|
|Sorting letters by colour|
|Dividing cars so everyone has an equal amount|
|Building a long road|
|Drawing his family on the Smart Board|
|Writing cards for their friends and teacher|
|Drawing snakes and playing librarian|
|Creating a game for others to play|
|Feeding all the animals on the farm|
|Working together to build a track|