From Play to Practice: Connecting Teachers' Play to Children's Learning
About the Book
How can teachers deepen their understanding of the importance of play? How can they develop the ability to skillfully and intentionally guide children’s learning through play? When teachers engage in creative, open-ended play experiences, they learn firsthand the power of play. They also become more knowledgeable about the purposeful use of materials and intentional teaching strategies they can use to help children engage in open-ended play.
From Play to Practice describes how and why play is important. The play workshop experiences for educators that are outlined in the book help teachers understand and promote play-based learning as part of developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs. Journal reflections of play participants, along with photos from play workshops, illustrate the power of play to change professional and personal lives.
As described by Elizabeth Jones in the foreword, “This book offers a challenge to rediscover play with stuff, and to build one’s understanding of children’s learning through reflection on one’s own play experience.
Marcia L. Nell, PhD, is an assistant professor at Millersville University in Millersville, Pennsylvania, where she teaches graduate and undergraduate early childhood education courses and supervises student teachers.
Walter F. Drew, EdD, was born and raised in New York City. He earned a bachelor of arts in education from the University of Florida and a doctorate in elementary education from the University of Southern Mississippi. He is active in the NAEYC Play, Policy, and Practice Interest Forum. He is also the creator of Dr. Drew’s Discovery Blocks.
Deborah E. Bush is a professional writer and editor who has been on the board of the Institute for Self Active Education since 2004. She is an advocate for fostering self-active play, especially for children, who have so much to gain from it.
In the current discourse about play and early education, one factor is often overlooked—teachers’ perceptions of play. Teachers who are in touch with the power of play are more likely to use play-based teaching strategies than those who are not. This book raises teachers’ awareness of how play promotes all aspects of children’s development.
—James Christie, Professor, Social and Family Dynamics, Arizona State University
This book is a concise and articulate presentation of play’s impact on learning and provides a guide to improving teaching practices and children’s experience. The combination of theory and application to both children and adults is clearly unique in the field.
—K. Craig Jones, Associate Professor, Early Childhood Education, University of West Florida
Now more than ever, children need help connecting deeply to learning through play. From Play to Practice is exactly the book teachers need to help make this happen.
—Diane E. Levin, Professor, Early Childhood Education, Wheelock College
When teachers play, they learn to see the materials and their possibilities for learning through the eyes of a child. This book illustrates clearly that play is part of planning developmentally appropriate curriculum.
—Susan Wood, Executive Director, The Children’s Center, California Institute of Technology
While many consider play a frivolous activity in which children should occasionally engage, this book illustrates the reflection, research, practices, and transformation surrounding the topic. Marcia Nell and Walter Drew’s discussion convinces us that play—like learning—is a lifelong pursuit.
—Luis Hernandez, Early Childhood Specialist/TTAS, Western Kentucky University