"Make play and games important parts of the curriculum…Instead of getting rid of blocks and dress-up clothes, kindergarten teachers need to primarily focus on improving the quality of make-believe play…"
Excerpts from Tools of the Mind: A Vygotskian Approach
Literacy Play Centers Provide Reasons to Use Language in Katie Nelson’s Kindergarten
Welcome to our Flower Shop!
We’ve made our own menus.
Grocery Shopping: Writing for a real purpose.
Acting out the Little Red Hen: Sequencing and retelling are child’s play.
The McKinley Vet Clinic is now open: Please bring your small pets…shots available!
The McKinley cafe serves breakfast and lunch. Place your order now!
We Make Center Description Signs to Inform Parents
Literacy and Dramatic Play Center
Here children are using language and literacy skills to assume and practice roles of people in their world. Children are reading and writing for real purposes as they make grocery lists, read to teddy bears, and take orders for restaurant food.
They are developing important social-emotional skills: cooperating, communicating, observing, and playfully creating with others.
Children are engaged in interpersonal problem solving, expressing feelings and learning to get into and out of various social situations.
They are building vocabulary and making connections to new thematic studies, experiencing creative dramatics and developing important communication skills.
Our literacy play center becomes a veterinarian’s office, post office, space station, grocery store, cafe, costume store, and pizza shop.
The Dramatic Play Center Changes With the Curriculum: Parents Contribute Literacy Props
In Joanie Cutler’s kindergarten the dramatic play center becomes:
• A space lab while we’re studying the stars.
• A ten-penny store in February while we study money. (They love the cash register!)
McKinley Vet Clinic: Open For Business
Cathy Jordan’s philosophy is simple: The children have got to love coming to school and have reasons to read and write!
Young writers need real world reasons to write. English learners rehearse new language patterns through play-based learning.
Jacque Verrall’s Kindergarten Literacy Play Center Becomes a Space Station: Parent Volunteers Created All of the Amazing Props
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, kindergarten children traveled in space…
Space travelers translate messages from outer space.
Pilot and co-pilot work together to navigate between the stars...
Consider the powerful vocabulary development and opportunity to develop collaborative conversations that occur during rich themed dramatic play.
L.K.1, L.K.6, SL.K.1, SL.K.6
Schools for the 21st Century: Play Builds the Foundation for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (S.T.E.M.)
Imagination is more important than knowledge...
- Albert Einstein
Block Building: Growing Future Engineers and Architects We are:
- Counting, measuring, building, balancing
- Developing social-emotional skills: We communicate and collaborate
- Using small muscle skills
- Developing eye-hand coordination
- Learning to think like an engineer:
- Ask and imagine
- Plan, predict, and create
- Read with a purpose
- Record: write and draw
- Sharing pride in our accomplishments
Frank Lloyd Wright attributes his early interest in architecture to the blocks his mother gave him.
Research shows later algebra gains for children who engaged in block play in early childhood.
Play is the highest form of research.
- Albert Einstein
Online Video Tutorials + Resources
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