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PT interviews, kindergarten sharing, and the power of play

As you know, we have had 2 evenings of parent-teacher interviews this week. It was a pleasure to cross paths with so many of you, and to hear such positive feedback about your children’s experiences so far this year. CFIS students are so lucky to have such engaged and involved families who participate so actively in their educational experience. As an educator, it is a blessing to know that our students are so well supported at home as we as at school.

On Wednesday morning, we welcomed a group of prospective kindergarten students for the next school year. While they worked and played together, one little girl asked me: “Whose classroom is this that we are getting to play in?” I explained that it belonged to a kindergarten class who was gone on a field trip, and that they had agreed to let us use their classroom while they were away. Her reply: “Wow, the kids here are REALLY nice and they share REALLY good!” I wholeheartedly agree with her!

One afternoon this week, I walked into a kindergarten classroom while they were deeply involved in free play. One little boy pulled me over to show me the castle and bridge they were building out of some jumbo-sized blocks. He explained that he and two classmates had tried a few different ways to build it, and then decided they should draw a plan first, which helped them figure out how to keep it from falling. Then they worked together to make sure the blocks were placed in the right order, so that each part of the castle supported the next part. The children were very proud of their creation, and it was a lovely illustration of the critical role of free play in children’s learning. In addition to practicing collaboration and spatial-awareness skills, they were also engaged in deep, critical reflection about their goal and the best way to reach it. The learning opportunity occurred spontaneously and authentically, pushing their thinking in ways that would be hard to manufacture in a teacher-created activity.

Speaking of playing, did you know…

That a 2015 report showed that pushing academics too early does not only have little impact on longer term achievement, it can actually hinder students’ ongoing progress? Young learners need a strong foundation of play-based experiences, to build the cognitive strength and executive functioning necessary for later, formal academic instruction. The two links below share more details about this research, and support the priority that our CFIS ECE programs place on play in the classroom:

Early Academic Training Produces Long-Term Harm (Psychology Today):

Report Debunks “Earlier is Better” Academic Instruction for Young Children (Washington Post):

Have a wonderful weekend, and I look forward to seeing many of you at our preschool and junior kindergarten concerts next week!