We have all heard the expression “Kindergarten in the new first grade.” The pressure to start preparing children for a complex world by forcing reading, math skills, and more intellectual tasks down to lower grades is pushing play more and more to the margins, especially for the pre-school and early grades.
But play has tremendous value and can teach in more ways than we normally imagine. Albert Einstein thought so. He said, “Play is the highest form of research.” When children play, they develop mental agility and creativity, qualities that prepare them to do well in STEM and other subjects later on. To explore the possibilities, see, for example, “12 Key Types of Play.”
And see below “Is ‘Academic Rigor’ Appropriate for Early Childhood?”