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Filling In the Gaps

by Alissa Mwenelupembe
September/October 2017
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/filling-in-the-gaps/5023754/

As I speak to families about what they are looking for in an early childhood program (particularly Pre-K), I often hear that they want their child to learn.Learning is of course the goal of all early childhood programs, but what does learning look like from parents' perspective? Based on their experiences with schooling, they often may have no other view than worksheets, workbooks, and other academic pursuits. We have encouraged and supported parents in wanting academic success for their children, but we have failed to explain what this success involves or could involve outside of schoolwork involving paper-pencil tasks.

The field of early childhood education has spent years working to educate teachers on the importance of playful learning. We have become very proficient at defending play as part of children's curriculum and learning. Numerous articles about the importance of play in practitioner journals, as well as books and conference workshops, explain why educators should offer play-based experiences and what play looks like in preschool classrooms. This begs two important questions: 1) how do we share this information about the importance of intellect over academic skills with families and 2) why do some programs not offer a play-based curriculum?

This discussion explores ...

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