Nature Play On Vancouver Island

Nature Kindergarten On Vancouver Island

Kindergarten, Play and E-portfolio Work

Not too long ago, in my master’s class on child development we were challenged to write about our cherished memories of play as young children. Amazingly to us, but not surprising to our teacher, we had a common theme; unstructured, unsupervised and open-ended play. We shared common memories of playing outdoors for hours in multi-aged groupings in self-directed play. I remembered playing monkey in the middle with my siblings and neighbours, shooting pucks in the backyard rink that my dad made for us and hours of make believe play where of course my seven brothers dominated the game and indulged a little sister, assigning a minor role to me but inclusive.

Today I have the most amazing job in the world. I am a Kindergarten teacher and my program is play-based. For the past few years I have lamented the loss of play in some of our primary classrooms, not because the institution has restricted play but because it is not trusted as important work.

A friend recently asked what should be done to stem the growing number of adults, including teachers, who do not understand or trust that play promotes learning and that without play, learning is affected. When discussing pedagogy, as a student teacher, she believes that change begins with the teacher education program, but I believe that student teachers use two pillars; their beliefs about how children learn and teacher modeling. Including play in our teacher education programs will certainly help shape beliefs about how children learn, but to shape current practice (teacher modeling), we need to as Golinkoff, Hirsh-Pasek and Singer (2006) write to “discern the purpose and conditions under which play is optimally useful pedagogy (10). I fully agree with their statement and would suggest that communication, information and experience lead to an appreciation that play equals learning (Golinkoff, Hirsh-Paske and Singer, 2006).

The original purpose for this blog was to write about our Kindergarten classroom project, E-portfolio work in math. However, as I sift through the photographs of children’s work and re-read my anecdotal comments and children's interviews, I cannot seperate work from play.

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