Studies dating to the 1940s indicate that blocks help children absorb basic math concepts. One published in 2001 tracked 37 preschoolers and found that those who had more sophisticated block play got better math grades and standardized test scores in high school. And a 2007 study by Dimitri Christakis, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Hospital, found that those with block experience scored significantly better on language acquisition tests.
Until we have a large, national study using independent observers and employing sound, consistent methodologies for collecting information, using words like "crisis" only blurs the picture, making it hard to make helpful distinctions between classrooms that veer too far to "anything goes" chaos, those that rely too much on didactic "repeat after me" lessons and those where strong, innovative teachers have learned that playtime and learning go hand-in-hand.
One constant that we can always count on, regardless of cultural or social situations, is that young children will play. If you ask a young child why he plays, he'll probably say "Because it's fun!" Of course, being adults, we have to define play in terms we are comfortable with. Below is an overview of play theory and theorists from the past 100 years.
if you look closely, they were exploring spatial relationships, honing motor capabilities, practicing social skills and language, creatively thinking, gathering information about the world through their senses, or to put it simply, learning through play.
Since the last decade of the previous century, with the advent of Internet in a big way, societies all round the world have undergone a sea change. With the shifts in career preferences, education has largely become a life long.
Many preschool teachers recognize the importance of play for children's development and learning and emphasize play in their classrooms. This paper explores how they remember their own childhood play and how they perceive children's play today. Twenty Swedish preschool teachers were interviewed regarding their views of play. Two characteristic perspectives were identified—the idealized and the pragmatic. Findings suggest that the idealized perspective was more common than the pragmatic among the preschool teachers interviewed. Two different themes from childhood stand out as significant in the comparison of play in the past to the role of play today: time for play and the effect of media on play.
In the ongoing battle over kindergarten—has exploratory play been shunted aside for first-grade-style pencil-and-paper work?—one of the nation’s oldest voices in child development is weighing in with historic data.
Technology has become omnipresent in almost every new toy, the concern is that the products too often do the playing, while the kids do the watching. Dolls come with complete back stories; animals repeat the phrases they utter on TV; and so-called learning toys preach rather than teach.
The cofounders of Sandbox Summit, Claire Green and Wendy Smolen, put forth the challenge “How can we ensure that our children become active users, and not passive consumers of technology?”