Ed Week recently published an article about the North Carolina’s Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school district and the work they doing to reinvent Kindergarten. It is less of a reinvention and more of a return to the way Kindergarten used to be. The district is aiming to make Kindergarten more engaging for children and more effective for learning. For them, this translates to returning play-based learning to the classroom.
Research-based evidence indicates that young children learn more, and retain far more, when they are physically moving and engaging in activities. Stephen Oates, the assistant superintendent for elementary administration in this district is still finding it difficult to get back on track. The focus for so long has been on test scores and achievement that many principals don’t know where to start. Oates says, “It’s really not just about play. It’s about designing highly engaging learning environments for children that are guided by developmentally appropriate instruction.”
Even if your school district doesn’t support play-based learning on this district-wide level, we know that as a kindergarten teacher you rely on play to reinforce big or hard-to-understand concepts. Even a short play period interspersed with academic learning periods keeps children engaged. Our Literacy, Language and Math Through Music Movement Series helps children achieve early learning standards for language, literacy and math with developmentally appropriate songs and activities. Additionally each song is aligned with learning standards for many states as well as Head Start. Teachers can select songs that fit the standards they are teaching making it easy to integrate music and movement with their curriculum goals. And, it makes it possible to teach standards while also having fun.