This website aims to increase opportunities for daily free play in early elementary classrooms. As a parent and classroom teacher, I’ve witnessed how play can strengthen early literacy skills. The need to play is not a frivolous extra in the lives of our children. Without these early play experiences, building academic skills is like trying to build skyscrapers in quicksand.
Sadly, low academic achievement is just one of many impacts of play deficits. There is an alarming trend of increased anxiety, stress, and depression in children, teens, and young adults. It is now officially recognized as a mental health crisis. While young children are under increasing academic pressure, they are also playing less both in and out of school. Research is very clear- play deficits affect the neurodevelopment of children, with impacts well into adolescence and beyond. (Gray, 2011)
Children have a right to daily free play.
This site has been created to help K-2 educators gain new insight into how this underutilized resource, the play instinct, can be harnessed to strengthen their students’ social, emotional, and academic skills. While incorporating play and creating more joyful, balanced classrooms, daily Play-Based Centers is also a practical, flexible block of time that teachers can use to address the numerous challenges of their increasingly complex classrooms.