Hot off the press! The American Academy of Pediatrics just released a clinical report on The Power of Play: A Pediatric Role in Enhancing Development in Young Children (September 2018). The report states that Play is not frivolous; it is brain building. Play enhances brain structure and function. Play promotes the process of learning.
This report is basically telling pediatricians to write a prescription for play for young children. This is perfect timing as childhood programs are pressured to add more didactic components and less playful learning. Pediatricians are being asked to emphasize the role of a balanced curriculum that includes the importance of playful learning for the promotion of healthy child development. “Play is fundamentally important for learning 21st century skills, such as problem solving, collaboration, and creativity, which require the executive functioning skills that are critical for adult success”. The report expresses that successful early childhood programs encourage playful learning in which children are actively engaged in meaningful discovery. Does this sound like the Siskin Engagement Classroom Model? It sure does!
Pediatricians are being encouraged to advocate along with preschool educators (as well as communicate to policy makers, legislators, and educational administrators) to focus on play-based learning rather than didactic learning by letting children take the lead and follow their own curiosity. The Siskin Engagement Model focuses on increasing a child’s engagement through play and embedding developmental standards into play within the natural routines of a child’s day. However; in order for play to be beneficial, play must be consciously facilitated by skilled teachers, who are well-trained in observing children and understanding how play contributes to the children’s mastery of concept and skills.
Read the entire article here.
Author: Julie Mickel, Director, Early Learning Center