Thursday, December 30, 2010

We're All Learning Through Play

As a first year teacher who has had a limited experience working in a Reggio Emilia setting, in a school that has just begun the Reggio program in early childhood, I have struggled to find a way to make project based exploration the main focus of the classroom (as opposed to the more traditional, teacher directed way of teaching). 
In this program, the children are supposed to be able to learn through play, discovery, exploration, and conversation. I love that - idea. It’s making it happen that has been tough. They also must be prepared for kindergarten by the time they leave my class - which means that they also need to learn their letters, letter sounds, numbers, shapes, all of those fundamental concepts that parents send their children to school to learn.
But, as I reflect on the past couple of months and prepare for the return to school, I’m realizing that the children are going to do most of their learning through play. It’s not just about fulfilling intellectual needs (although we will do that too) - my job is to develop the WHOLE child - emotional, social, physical... I need to meet all of their needs, and learning through play is going to help me with that. 
Some things that have helped me understand the importance of play are: 

Loris Malaguzzi, the founder of Reggio Emilia, said “nothing without joy” -
Such a sweet moment, I think. I love that these boys find such joy in the classroom, working with each other. 

I hope that with the New Year, I will teach my students how to love learning and discovering through playing, and that we will continue to feel joy in our classroom as we grow together. And while the children learn through play, I will learn how to provide these children with experiences and discoveries, while making sure that they are advancing completely and fully.

Now that I know what I have to do - I better get back to planning! Hoping to start the New Year with some really great play!


  1. What a wonderful article on play! You are going to be great!

  2. Oooh look, you mentioned my blog :) Thanks for the link love. I enjoyed reading your post and now that I've found you I look forward to reading more. Your kids are lucky to have a teacher who is thinking deeply about the program you provide for them.

  3. I LOVE all the wonderful pics. of the kids! The first 3 years I taught at a Head Start center- these pics. remind me of my classroom then...I think we may even have had the same carpet! This is a great post- I love it! -Glad I found your blog!

  4. Thank you all for your support! I really appreciate it... Deborah and Jenny, I have been following your blogs for a little bit and have really been able to reflect and think about my own classroom - Pam I am new to yours, but just became a "follower" this morning :-) I'm excited - hoping that this blogging will = collaboration, reflection, and help me with my documentation!