The Value of Play
You say that you love your children,
And are concerned that they learn today,
As am I, that’s why I’m providing
A variety of kinds of play.
You are asking what’s the value
Of having your children play?
Your daughter’s creating a tower,
She may be a builder someday.
You’re asking me the value
of blocks and sand and clay.
Your children are solving problems,
They will use that skill every day.
You’re saying that you don’t want your son
To play in that sissy way.
He’s learning to cuddle a doll,
He may be a father someday.
You’re questioning the learning centers,
They just look like useless play.
Your children are making choices,
They’ll be on their own someday.
You’re worried your children aren’t learning
And later they’ll have to pay.
They’re learning a pattern for learning,
For they’ll be learners always.
– by Laurie Monopoli
℗©Monopoli/The Learning Station
Note: We own the rights to this image and poem. You can share it, but do not make any alterations or remove our pertinent information.
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Hi Laurie and Don!
Happy Almost New Year! Just wanted you to know how much I love this poem and think I will print it out and hang it on the parent bulletin board. I was talking with the early childhood director the other day. Our book of the week was The Gingerbread Boy. It was Christmas Eve Day and we only had 6 children in class that day. We sat and watched some of the children playing in the dramatic play area. They tapped on an empty gingerbread mix box to make sure that all of the mix was out of the box. Then they rolled invisible dough, used cookie cutters to cut invisible gingerbread men and then put toy gingerbread cookies in the oven to bake. One child leaned against the oven so that the gingerbread men couldn’t open the door and escape.
At the playdoh table the children were rolling playdoh and using cookie cutters to cut out playdoh gingerbread cookies. One of my most challenging children who up until that day had been eating the playdoh and speaking as few words as possible sat and looked at the other children. Suddenly he came to me and said in complete sentences, “Miss Carol how do you do that? Help me, please.” I was stunned by his use of sentences, but quickly pulled myself together and helped him roll out the playdoh and cut a gingerbread boy. He picked it up and said, “It’s the gingerbread man!” I said, “Who made the gingerbread man?” and he responded with his name. I asked who ate the gingerbread man and he replied, “The fox. The fox ate him. He opened his mouth like this (and he opened his mouth wide) and ate the gingerbread man.
Two other children were also cutting out gingerbread men. One of them said he was the fox and used his walking feet to chase the other child around the room.
As we sat and watched the children playing I said to the early childhood director, “This is what is wrong with preschool education today. There’s just not enough time for them to play. They come to school for the very first time in their lives. They want to play and need to learn how to play with other children, yet we are supposed to teach them how to read and write their names, learn to recognize and identify letters and numbers, and learn to count. Within 2 weeks of being in school we are asked to assess their current knowledge and after about 8 weeks we assess them again.”
She agreed with me and said that in Kindergarten they basically do not get any time to play. I said I realized that and feel that is unfortunate too.
I know that we can and do teach skills with activities and toys, but I wish the kids had more time to just play.
And music. You know how much I love and value music and constantly use it with my students. When I do trainings I hear again and again that there’s not enough time for music! In preschool. In kindergarten. HOW AWFUL!
We wish you a very happy and joyous New Year!
Thank you for sharing this very heart-warming story. These are the precious moments that teachers experience and cherish forever!
Wishing you and your children musical smiles galore!!