Play is not good in the classroom...it's GREAT!
Honestly, we hear this a lot. We are told on all sides to let kids be kids.
Let them play and explore. But we are really bad at putting this into practice. Instead, we…
Give kids a tablet/TV to watch (this is not play)
Expect them to sit quietly for long periods of time (most schools, church, in the car, etc.)
Overload them with activities (gymnastics, basketball, football, piano, dance, etc.)
Overwhelm them with options (ALL the toys)
Now, all of these things are not bad in and of themselves. However, we truly have to be aware of how often we are doing these things...especially in the classroom. I get it. Teachers have a ton of requirements to meet. It can often feel like you have to utilize every second of every day with instruction in order to meet all the requirements. However, it is so important that we make time for play in the classroom.
I want you to put yourself in the shoes of your students for a few minutes.
You woke up this morning, earlier than you wanted to...you were hustled to get dressed, eat breakfast, and make it to the bus in time. Then, you got to school. You maybe had a few minutes to talk to your friends in the hallway before being shooed into your classroom. Once in the classroom, you sit down and start on your morning work. Your teacher starts the first subject of the day. You listen quietly, do your work, and count down the time until lunch so you can have a break. This pattern continues all day, until finally it’s time to go home. But wait! You have to do your homework before you can go play. So, you sit at the kitchen table for an hour to finish all your homework. Now, it’s 5 o’clock and you have an hour until dinner. Af