Play a little!

“Most primary school teachers would probably agree that they don’t expect kindergartners to enter first grade with a complete mastery of spelling and addition. After all, it is in the early elementary grades when children learn these academic competencies. However, teachers of entering school-agers do hope that the children who come into their classrooms can concentrate, pay attention, and be considerate of others. These areas are developed not by using flashcards or computer programs, but through interacting with peers during play.” – Deborah J Leong Ph.D

Dr. Deborah J. Leong is the Executive Director of Tools of the Mind and Professor Emerita of Psychology at Metropolitan State University of Denver, where she taught for 36 years in the Psychology Department and in the Department of Education.  Dr. Leong developed the Tools of the Mind approach with Dr. Bodrova with whom she has written numerous books, articles, and educational videos on the Vygotskian Approach to Psychology and the development of play. Dr. Leong has written several books on early childhood assessment with Drs. McAfee and Bodrova.  She has her Ph.D. from Stanford University in Psychological Studies in Education, her M.Ed. from Harvard University, and her B.A. from Stanford University.  She was a Fulbright Fellow to the University of Patagonia, Argentina.


7 thoughts on “Play a little!

  1. I am thinking your choice of Dr. Leong #learning through play” works alongside developmentally appropriate practices for young children. Children in ECE years need that social-emotional and physical time with their peers. I believe this increases their cognitive , literacy, and language skills in those formative years.


    1. It definitely does! I agree with you and think that it’s so important that anyone working in ECE gain a true knowledge of DAP for the age group and find a true love of learning through play. I always say to my employees or new hires…having FUN is a job requirement. If you find yourself too wrapped up in a task or project, take a step back and just find a way to enjoy yourself. It translates to such a better, more communal and play oriented learning atmosphere!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your blog set up is amazing! Way to go. I enjoyed reading about Dr. Leong and her vision of peer interactions through play. The picture explaining various forms of interactive play is fascinating. The collaboration of young children enables them to learn how to play and share with each other. I try to start each morning off with dance and movement in order to get our day started, and it has helped since I started it. Thank you for sharing this.



    1. Oh i love how you do that to start your day! When in the classroom, I was always big on movement and brain breaks. Sometimes things just got a little off and I would say….DANCE PARTY! or BRAIN BREAK! and they’d all run to the carpet and we’d do a movement activity or play a few songs and dance it out! Thank you!!


  3. Yes, I do believe children learn through play. As a teacher I saw children who enjoyed reading. Although, sometimes they did not know the words. They still continue to read the book. I also, saw children in the writing center begin to write their names. Sometimes, they would go around the room and write down every word they saw in the classroom. Awesome job thanks for sharing.


  4. Learning through play is something that I have always believed in. Although, some of my parents think that children are not learning while they are playing. I love the post that explained what they children were doing while they are playing. Maybe this is something that I may be able to share with my families. Love your blog setup!


    1. Thank you! I have had some parents who have been very resistant and judgemental about the play aspect – one was really frustrated that their daughter would come home and say “I played all day” they were asking her to come in and gave her “assignments” to do while she was in my class on the down low. Eventually they brought it up to me and we were able to have a conference about how we learn and I showed them how the games and activities we do probably feel like play, but that means I’m doing my job because they’re enjoying learning!


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