Monday, July 8, 2013

The Art of Playing

We went to a city park yesterday and found this great little playground. The boys played well together on the seesaw first before moving on to other things.
Playing is a child's work.  They learn through making and testing hypotheses even though they wouldn't explain that like a scientist to you.  With a little parental guidance they quickly master a new exploration.  I love how CJ responded to the digger in the sand.  "This is good work!"
Speaking of "Good Work" I believe that fostering a good work ethic early in children is important for long term success.  Digging in the sandbox is in fact "good work". 
 According to constructivist theory (Piaget, 1945), children have an inner drive to build an understanding of their world as they explore and interact with materials.  Concepts about how the world works are built gradually and become increasingly complex as the child enters a rich learning environment and exercises his or her freedom to play.
 Looking back, I wish I would have used more open ended questions to guide him in his discovery instead of just telling him how.  Parents and teachers have the responsibility to structure a rich enviornement, observe what children are doing and thinking, and interact as appropriate.  To encourage problem solving I could have asked questions such as:

  • How could you change/fix that?
  • What else could you do?
  • What would happen if you...?
  • What do you think/feel about ....?
  • How did you do that?
  • Is there another way to...?

By asking these open ended questions I could have provided a framework to enable him to learn more by himself.
I love that when EMan came back around to this scooper CJ worked with him to make him feel successful!
So, here is to more open ended play and questions.  It's my goal for the week.  What's yours?

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