Wednesday, October 6, 2010

they play, but do they write?

Do children write in a play-based curriculum?

Just try to stop them!

They write on forms; 

They write in sand; 

They write in the home corner,

They write on their drawings;

They write on the walls; 

They write signs for their buildings;

They write really small;

They practice writing their names;

They write the rules;

They write on lists;

They write on maps;

They write with blocks;

They write in cubbies;

They write in journals; 

They write in German;

They write with play dough;

They write on trucks;

They write outside;

They write to the fairies;

They write with friends;

They write out plans for our dirt patch;

They write on rocks.

They write it here, they write it there, they write it everywhere.

In a play-based curriculum every day provides endless opportunities to learn about print in meaningful situations.  

So lets keep on providing the best practice for young children in their early childhood programs through play and not fall into the trap of thinking that play excludes literacy.


  1. Oh AMEN to that Jenny! ... Bloody brilliant post.
    Donna :) :)

  2. If only the rest of the world would finally "get it." YEAH for PLAY! Great post!

  3. This is a great post! And you're right - play is the best way to incorporate literacy. Kids use reading and writing as a part of everyday life - and that's real literacy education.

    Play is the way!

  4. Would you consider submitting this as part of the next I can read - a carnival for new and developing readers (details here: It's such a lovely post full of ideas that I think it would be a great addition to the carnival.

  5. You said it. The photos say it even better.
    Love seeing other early educators out there promoting play as the way for positive development and all the academics that come from there. Our kids are happy, healthy and ready for any experiences that come their way. Learners for life.

  6. Write on, Jenny! By sheer chance I've got a similar post coming up in a few weeks time! There's a rush on outdoor literacy courses here in Scotland which is lovely.

  7. Amen! I wish I could keep my girls in a play-based environment past the age of 4! Great post.

  8. I so agree. My eldest daughter began writing early because she had a natural interest in it and I encouraged it.

    I had so many parents tell me I was pushing her too hard and robbing her of her childhood.

    I wish I'd thought of your words: just try to stop her!! That says it all.

  9. I love the photo format of your post - so clearly shows how writing can be anywhere and everywhere. Inspiring!

  10. And real life, play based types of writing are so much more practical and FUN ways to learn than doing silly "copy-this-letter" worksheets!

  11. I LOVE LOVE LOOOOOOOVE this post! Pictures say it even louder than anything! Only if everyone would "get it"... I normally just silently stalk your blog, but I couldn't help it today...Great post!

  12. Blog post of the year material, Jenny!

    It reads almost like a Dr. Suess book and the pictures say it all.

    I'll be referring to this post every time someone asks me that question. Thanks.

  13. I wish blogs could be discreetly left lying around for people to pick up and flick through. There are a few people I would love to see this. A great post - thanks :)

  14. Jenny-

    I just thought I would let you know that Dan Hodgins really promoted your blog and wonderful ideas today at the UPAEYC conference. I'm guessing you are going to have a lot of new readers from my part of the world :).

  15. This was a wonderful post! It makes me realize that I spend too much time taking pictures of the art and projects the adventurers are involved in. These pics were lovely, a picture really is worth 1000 words.

  16. So much truth! I think people would be hard pressed to find children in "academic-based" preschools who find writing so exciting. When children have the chance to explore it on their own terms, like you show here, they can stay excited and interested in it and understand how useful it is. A lovely post :)

  17. You could not of said it any better. Love this post and will be passing it on.

  18. If only more schools would embrace this. Nothing compares to learning through play.

  19. Jenny

    Do you think I could print this out and make a poster to put up at my kinder. I would add your name and blog site to the poster. We follow a playbased curriculum and I would love the parents to read this

  20. I'm late to chime in here, but wanted to let you know how impressed I am with all of your documentation and how you've organized it. Bravo, Jenny. There's perhaps no better way to advocate for learning through play than to SHOW exactly how it happens.

  21. So awesomely true! I'll have to print this out so that when some of the parents in my school, whose daughters are really too young for academics, complain that I'm not "teaching their children". I refuse to force children to learn to write if they can do it on their own, in their own time, at their own pace, in their own way!

  22. Thank you to everyone for the lovely comments - I'm glad you enjoyed the post and sorry it has taken so long to reply but I have been out of action for a bit.

    Shauna: Print away!

    Playing by the Book: I would love to - thanks for asking me.

  23. Fabulous post, Jenny!!! Meaningful experiences make lasting impressions!!!!!
    Actually just wrote a very similar post on preschool writing...I love that you picked up right where I left off. I may need to share a link to your post as a follow up.

  24. This is a very inspirational post. I've been reading Raising Confident Readers by Richard Gentry. He talks a lot about how children who write and draw in early play will be some of the best readers later in life!

  25. Such a great idea to post this! Every Pre-K teacher should see this.

  26. Awesome! I love your ideas thanks for sharing

  27. I absolutely agree with you. I have seen the benefits of play-based learning. I am curious to hear from others in the field. Most of the parents I have encountered are so focused on teacher-directed curriculum, they do not fully understand the value in child-directed learning. How do you help parents to understand and appreciate play as a viable source of learning?

  28. Thank you for sharing this. Visuals such as these are very helpful to parents as well as other educators, as we all learn from one another. Documenting the children's learning as they engage in play, in meaningful activities, can shed a lot of light on the learning that occurs and how parents and educators can encourage and support it without 'directing' the child or the play.

  29. Hell yeah!
    Now to get families to understand!
    Your post had made my day!