Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Benefits of Playing School

Playing school! What fun for many children. And we are finding that both girls and boys benefit from this favorite pastime of childhood. This is an activity that you may want to encourage families to enjoy at home because it is much more than merely play-acting. Family involvement can encourage children, acting as the teacher, to practice many important skills and concepts.

The child as teacher may have a family member sit at a desk or on the floor to practice numbers or sight words, as shown below. 

Good review: Writing numbers and asking a family member to name the numeral.
Pointing to sight words gives children a chance to think clearly about each word as they need to give feedback as to whether a family member reads it correctly!
This is a helpful way for children to verbalize their understandings of school-readiness concepts. It also allows for practice, in a developmentally-appropriate way, of key skills.  Children can use papers, stapled together like books, and write practice activities for their “students.” They may use toys like blocks to demonstrate math concepts. 
The child sets up a "teacher desk" and prepares blocks to demonstrate patterning for his "students."
Children can even set up their own classroom, as shown below, with stuffed animals (and a family member) as students. 

Arranging desks can give you insight into what a child likes about school.
An important benefit of this is that families get a window into the child’s mind. This will help direct them as to what children remember and value about school. What a wonderful way to communicate with families!

One topic we have considered is the benefit male faculty members have on a child’s propensity to play school.  We know the importance of male role models. Does having a male in the classroom mean young boys are more likely to play school? The child in these photos loves to engage in this activity. He is fortunate to have a male kindergarten teacher.

Standards Alignment:
NAEYC –  2.A.12, 2.B.01, & 2.B.04.
Head Start -  II.A., II.B.,  & 4.A.

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