The purpose of this website (and future book) is to increase opportunities for daily free play in early elementary classrooms. Childhood play experiences are the foundations of academic success and social and emotional health of children in schools, and beyond. Without the foundational benefits of play experiences, building academic skills is like trying to build skyscrapers in quicksand. The need to play is not a frivolous extra in the lives of children, and cannot be omitted without significant ramifications. Unfortunately, low academic achievement is just one effect of play deficits.
There is an alarming trend indicating increased anxiety, stress, and depression in children, teens, and young adults. It is now recognized as a mental health crisis. While young children are under increasing academic pressure, they are also playing less and less in or out of school. Research is very clear- play deficits and early stress affect children well into adolescence and beyond.
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 flexible block of time to address the numerous challenges that all teachers face.