My name is Chelsea Troeller. I grew up in Staten Island, NY with my four brothers. After graduating from SUNY Potsdam with my B.A. in Childhood/ Early Childhood Education, I moved to Albany, NY.
I have been teaching preschool (ages 3-5) at a small Christian Day Car Center for two years. I love teaching, and look forward to learning from others in my field.
In my spare time, I love to hangout with my boyfriend and our 2 year old St. Bernard/ Great Pyrenees Mix. She loves being outside, especially in the winter. I have recently begun to learn how to snowboard.
Learning Through Play
Play is an essential component of early childhood education. As pressures increase around teaching to the standards, play is disappearing from our classrooms. This course will discuss the importance of play in the early childhood classroom, and show how play can help strengthen children's academic skills.
The learner will:
- Gain an appreciation for the importance of play in early childhood education
- Understand that learning can be incorporated through play
- Begin to develop strategies for using play to strengthen learning in a variety of different classroom environments
The Nature of the problem:
In my own experience as a preschool teacher, I have witnessed the importance of play in regards to young children’s development and learning. I have also witnessed the shift that teachers are being pressured to make towards more “academic work” with young children. “Despite their exposure to play-based learning, in many early childhood classrooms, educators are now giving increased recognition to the importance of early academic learning for later academic achievement” (Jung and Jin, 2014, p. 362) In my observations of preschool classrooms, I have seen that play is still a major component. However, a strong focus on lesson type instruction is also taking place. In many early childhood classrooms beyond preschool, play has disappeared altogether.
The problems which needs to be addressed:
Play is an essential aspect of learning in the early childhood setting. Using play based learning can significantly impact children’s social skills, problem solving strategies, and overall understanding of the world. Early childhood professionals often do not understand the importance of play, or do not have the know-how to incorporate play into the ever expanding academic curriculum.
Addressing the problem:
The study presented by Jung and Jin discusses future professionals in early childhood fields. The study questioned these professionals’ perceptions of play-based learning and its role in early childhood education. First, their study found that the majority of future professionals in the early childhood field took no play-based learning courses in their formal education. (Jung and Jin, 2014, p. 368) The study further evaluated the relationship between future professionals taking play-related courses and their positive perceptions of play-based learning. “[The results of the study] when taken altogether, indicate that taking play-related courses might help create overall positive perceptions for those students who took play-related courses.” (Jung and Jin, 2014, p. 370)
This evidence indicates that it is a problem which is best addressed through teaching and learning.
Jung, E., & Jin, B. (2014). Future Professionals’ Perceptions of Play in Early Childhood Classrooms. Journal Of Research In Childhood Education, 28(3), 358-376. doi:10.1080/02568543.2014.913277
Analysis of the Learner and Context
- The learners for which this mini-course is intended are current and prospective early childhood educators. These educators have a wide range of experiences and formal education. This means that there will be significant variation in what previous knowledge is brought with the learners. The mini-course will need to be accessible and engaging to learners with all types of previous knowledge.
- The learners will also have varying degrees of understanding in technology. The course will incorporate different types of media as a way to engage every type of learner. A brief guide to using each of these tools will be incorporated where needed.
Contexts of the course:
- The learning of this course will be used in early childhood education classrooms (birth - second grade)
- This is an online course. The course will require computer access and internet connection. Groups of students will engage with each unit at at the same time in different places. They will then submit reflective response activities to a discussion board in each module. Here, the participants will be able to evaluate their own learning, and gain new ideas and perspectives from others.
Aligning Course Contexts:
- Throughout the course, the learner will be asked to apply learned concepts to given real-life classroom situations and learning standards.
- Participants will be comfortable and confident in implementing play-based activities for a wide range of topics and standards in early childhood classrooms.
As a result of engaging in this mini-course,Early Childhood Educators will be able to...
- Identify and evaluate play-based activities based on given situational circumstances; describing at least 3 elements of effectiveness.
- Compare and contrast appropriate activities when given a description of a classroom audience and setting; describing how each activity would positively or negatively effect student learning.
- Plan play-based activities using a developed set of tools and strategies; aligning the activities to one or more appropriate learning standards.
This mini course will require that students have access to a KNILT, a computer with an internet browser and internet connection, a PDF file reader, Microsoft Word Online, and a media player.
The course will be lead by an actively participating instructor.
The course will take 15 days to complete.
There are three units.
Each Unit will take place over 5 days: 2 days of engaging with course materials, 2 days of peer discussion, and 1 day reviewing peer and instructor feedback.
References and Resources
- Café Drama Center: Developing Language and Vocabulary Through Play (Virtual Tour) [Motion picture]. (2012). YouTube
Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP). (n.d.). Retrieved May 16, 2015, from http://www.naeyc.org/dap Common Core Writing
- Hewes J. Voices from the field – Learning through play: A view from the field. In: Tremblay RE, Barr RG, Peters RDeV, Boivin M, eds. Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development [online]. Montreal, Quebec: Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development; 2010:1-6. Accessed [May 1, 2015].
Hewes, J., Early Childhood Learning Knowledge Centre., & Canadian Council on Learning. (2006). Let the children play: Nature's answer to early learning. Montreal, Que: Early Childhood Learning Knowledge Centre.
- Hurwitz, S. C. (2002). To be successful--let them play! (For Parents Particularly). Childhood Education, 79(2), 101+. Retrieved fromhttp://go.galegroup.com.libproxy.albany.edu/ps/i.doid=GALE%7CA96193637&v=2.1&u=albanyu&it=r&p=AONE&sw=w&asid=b87d4d96d909f61b480f7f7212df7984
Kindergarten Lesson [Motion picture]. (2012). YouTube.
- Mayesky, M. (2012). Creative activities for young children (10th ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.
New York State prekindergarten foundation for the common core. (2013). Albany, N.Y.: The New York State Education Dept.
- Preparing America's students for success. (n.d.). Retrieved May 16, 2015, from http://www.corestandards.org/
Rushton, S., & Larkin, E. (2001). Shaping the Learning Environment: Connecting Developmentally Appropriate Practices to Brain Research. Early Childhood Education Journal, 29(1), 25.
- School Readiness. (n.d.). Retrieved April 25, 2015, from http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/hs/sr