Teachers and directors need opportunities to play. As early childhood professionals, we advocate all the time about the value of play for children and the learning and development that happens through it. Children can socialize, test out new physical skills, use their imagination and creativity, and have the space and freedom to discover. Fred Rogers once said, “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”
Play is also serious work for adults. In our profession, we often see play as something we do with and for children, but taking the time to really play with a material before it is introduced in the classroom is incredibly valuable for planning. Playing increases the teacher’s ability to identify how certain students will react to the materials and be intentional about what tools to offer to extend the learning. Allowing time for play and reflection can reignite the sense of wonder and awe by experiencing something new or seeing the everyday with new eyes. It provides opportunities for joy and delight. When teachers play together, they socialize, laugh together and build community.