Dumbfounded by the trite and appalling approach, I did not keep a link to an article I read last week where some American schools were taking away the toys in primary classrooms until test scores improved. Are we in the buiseness of ‘measuring’ or ‘learning‘?
Last week I went to a Professional Development session on “Multiple Perspctives on Early Child Development”. It was a panel discussion that looked at some of the things we are doing with early childhood education. Here is my second page of notes, written on a paper tablecloth:
When looking at early child development:
Curriculum is Everything that happens
Play is HOW the learning happens
Play is a means to capitalize on learning
All animals learn through play
-they test limits and abilities
-play helps with peer socialization
Play & Imagination develop a Sense of Narrative
-narrative is essential for the shift from
Learning to Read -to- Reading to Learn
Play promotes both problem solving and collaboration
Play is chlid directed activity, child directed learning
Problem-Based Play Challenges and Engages
Play needs to be developmentally appropriate, but it should not end with primary/early education. There is a reason why the video game industry makes billions of dollars on games for teens and adults.
At what age does there seem to be a shift from Learning from Play to Learning or Playing? At what age do we start preparing kids for ‘the next grade’ or ‘the next test’?
We need to think more about the pedagogy of play and less about curriculum content… but the question arises: How do we measure this? Or better yet, how do we stop our measurement-based-evaluations from squeezing the fun out of learning?
I asked this question to the ministry representative on the panel: With our focus on standardidized testing how do we encourage more play? She didn’t answer my question. She said that play will improve test scores. I wouldn’t have asked the question if I didn’t already get that point.
So how do we promote learning through play more effectively in our schools?
Can quantitative tests meaningfully measure qualitative attributes and skills?
What is it we really want to measure?
Do we need a new narrative about what schools are about?