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Creating a Playful Classroom
May 20, 2022
I really love being human. But some days I really wish I could be a fairy.
-Greta, age 4

"Creating a playful environment helps to cultivate a friendly, welcoming place, and also goes a long way to creating the team environment that I also strive for with my classes," writes Robyn Sotak in the article that accompanies the new Exchange Reflections, Connecting Playfully with Children.

Sotak finds, "Being playful helps me develop relationships while also enjoying myself and making my classroom a fun environment."

She continues, "The subtleties of humor and jokes…are so interesting to explore with children and it is fascinating to me how quickly they pick up on things like teasing in a friendly way versus being unkind to someone."

Some of Sotak’s playful strategies include:

  • Adding humor to routine tasks, such as inviting playful responses when taking attendance—"James?" "Oink!" "Rasheedah?" "Meow!"
  • Intentionally making mistakes as a way to playfully establish expectations—"Coats go on the floor!" "NO!!!"
  • Pretending to be someone else, in the process showing what we know and care about one another— "Hello, I am Jenna. I have an older sister and I had a mini golf birthday party."

Sotak concludes, "Working with children is inherently comical—every day there is something silly, fun, or just completely out of left field to laugh about. Why not take advantage of those moments by using those to bond with children?"

NEW Exchange Reflections

Exchange Reflections are designed to help a team of people meet in-person or live online to think deeply together about a topic using an article from Exchange magazine as a guide. Included are discussion questions to help guide reflections, as well as a Making Commitments idea sheet to help prompt ideas into action. For your convenience, Exchange Reflections are available in PDF format and you can download immediately on your desktop.


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