The Power of Play in Supporting School Readiness Skills
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School readiness is a term that has come to yield a lot of power over preschool and kindergarten curricula over the past two decades. This shift has led to an increased academic focus, which has often come at the expense of traditional play times. However, the play-versus-academic debate is actually a false divide as evidenced by neuroscience research on executive function skills and socio-cultural research on how play impacts child development. Play creates an ideal context for the important mental development that takes place in the preschool and kindergarten years. This paper reviews the literature in each of these areas and ultimately argues that the conceptualization of “school readiness” should take into account the multiple critical aspects of development during these early years rather than focusing exclusively on academic skills. Based on this new conceptualization, the paper concludes with three key principles for supporting school readiness in preschool and kindergarten classrooms.
- Education - Seattle