Purposeful PLAY & Imagineering
“Work and play are words used to describe the same thing under differing conditions.” – Mark Twain
The Manchester Public Schools have made learning through play a reality. Playing is a social and emotional developmentally appropriate means to gain knowledge, interact with one’s environment and grow peer relations. For these reasons and so many more, our PreK, Kindergarten and Grade 1 students are given the time and space to play multiple times a week.
Our teachers are trained to support the development of Executive Functioning through the use of strategies that align to play and academics. Executive Functioning are the skills needed to sustain attention, hold a thought for a period of time and be flexible in one’s thinking. These skills are foundational to the development of being able to make reasonable decisions, organize, self manage and obtain social awareness. The research states that the most formidable years for developing executive functioning is ages 3-7.
With an understanding of the importance of learning through play, aligned to strengthening executive functioning skills; our students are given time to create their own playful environment in Play Centers and/ or Learning Scenarios. Students are given choice in their play activity each time. They work with peers to plan, create and design how they will interact with the manipulatives or environment. During Learning Scenarios, the classroom is transformed into a setting aligned to curriculum and instruction, for students to engage in during their play block. In this setting children take on roles, create props, struggle through dilemmas and use robust vocabulary words, language, numeracy and literacy skills.