May 23, 2024

Help Families Understand Learning through Play

Play is the key element being overlooked in child development and education.
– Stacy Benge, The Whole Child Alphabet

“But what are children learning?” parents often ask about play-based early care and education classrooms. The Out of the Box Training, “Translating Play-Based Learning for Families” provides meaningful ways to answer that question.

Based on an article by Holly Delgado, here’s one example of her suggestions for helping parents understand the deep and authentic learning that happens through play. Delgado writes:

“Many programs use an authentic, on-going, child assessment process to document learning. Often, a program’s philosophy is to think about family engagement and child assessment as two separate entities; however, when these two important components of early childhood work are integrated, the gap in understanding play as learning seamlessly closes. Assessment documentation, including anecdotes, work samples, photographs and videos can provide family members an unparalleled look at the teaching and learning process; essentially, a view straight into the classroom.”

For early care and education professionals who deeply understand how play supports learning and are surrounded by meaningful examples daily, it can be easy to forget that not all families have this same understanding. It is an important responsibility to make this learning visible – in multiple ways – so that more and more people begin to understand and advocate for learning through play in the early years.

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