Learning through Play
Standard letter grades
Contact hours total
Explores why open-exploration, discovery, and play are fundamentally important parts of children's development, the role of play in learning, and ways that adults can support and promote play. Considers current research and implications of play, as an important vehicle for developing self-regulation as well as for promoting language, cognition, and social competence, in an era of standards-driven curriculum. Prospective early childhood and elementary educators will grow in their understanding of their role in facilitating children's learning. Focuses on the role of purposeful learning and active exploration through play through the elementary grades.
1. Explore the role of play as a leading activity in childhood development and learning.
2. Analyze the ways in which play-based learning provides a foundation for academic learning across diverse content areas.
3. Demonstrate the role of educators and adults in scaffolding engaging and authentic learning experiences through play.
4. Assess play-based learning environments for developmentally appropriate practices in early learning and elementary settings.
5. Apply theories and understandings of play to design and implement environments and curriculum that address children's social, emotional, cultural, and cognitive needs.
Part I: Exploring the definition of play: what counts as truly open-ended exploration; what are the levels of play, and how does each support children's learning across academic content areas.
Part II: Implications of play on lifelong learning: in what ways does developmentally appropriate practices of play and open-ended exploration provide a foundation for subsequent academic understandings. What does research tell us about the foundation as children transition between early learning through higher education?
Part III: What is the role of the educator in scaffolding children's learning through play? How do adults support authentic learning through environmental design and curriculum?
Part IV: How does the value of play, as a foundation for learning, impact policy and practice in a standards-driven curriculum? How do educators successfully advocate for authentic learning through open-ended exploration while also demonstrating academic rigor and commitment to student success?
Students are required to purchase a textbook, have regular access to Blackboard, and must cover field-placement related costs.
Grades will be determined by field placement evaluation, weekly homework, midterm exam, and final project; may include discussion, short essays, and in-class presentation.