Graduate Degree Type
Education-Literacy Studies: Reading (M.Ed.)
College of Education
Research reinforces how play in the classroom can greatly benefit students in academic, social, emotional and behavioral ways. Today, students in kindergarten are being pressured to adhere to rigorous academic standards .While teachers are centering instruction around these standards, play is no longer seen as an essential piece of the classroom. The standards in kindergarten are becoming more intense and similar to higher grade levels. Developmentally, play can be a very advantageous way to help students grow in literacy and their learning. With scaffolding and modeling, teachers have the opportunity to teach through play and give students space to grow to their full potential. Teachers can mentor students and have them reach their Zone of Proximal Development, which will be elaborated on in this project. There are many ways play can be successfully integrated into the classroom in a timely manner, and there is a spectrum in which educators can decide how they will utilize play. Educators can find how much responsibility and autonomy they want students to have and grow in their comfort as they experience more play-based teaching. Guided play enables teachers to facilitate, mentor, observe, and plan. Students will have more voice and choice in their learning and should play a crucial role in growing in their knowledge. Guided play will increase student’s confidence, overall health, academic understanding, empathy and more. To meet the academic, social and emotional needs of students, schools need to provide these students guided play opportunities. Modeled mentor units should be provided to educators to support a collaboration between standards and play, as well as teachers and students. This project will provide the framework needed for educators to transition into play based learning while still centering instruction around the necessary standards.
Johnson, Danielle N., "Let Them Play! Integrating More Play into Kindergarten Curriculum and Classrooms" (2023). Culminating Experience Projects. 403.