Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Education-Instruction and Curriculum: Early Childhood Education (M.Ed.)

Degree Program

College of Education

First Advisor

Sherie Klee

Academic Year



Research has revealed the developmental benefits and school readiness skills students gain from play-based child centered learning, yet most early childhood classrooms beyond preschool are seeing less and less play-based learning and more direct instruction of academic skills due to increased accountability put in place by reforms such as No Child Left Behind. The purpose of this project is to inform and remind teachers and administration of the benefits of play-based learning but also to create some curriculum that will integrate more play-based learning into classrooms. Currently, many classrooms do not implement play -based learning due to time, academics, and lack of administrative support. In reality, many standards can be taught through play-based learning or a mixture of play-based and direct instruction. This project seeks to bridge the gap between preschool and first grade and give students the opportunity to develop skills through play that will help with their long-term success in school and life. This will be accomplished by providing some standards-based play curriculum to teachers to implement during part of the school day as well as a handout that explains the benefits of play so that teachers feel the importance of implementing it into their classrooms daily.