Play-based kindergarten develops social skills
In kindergarten this school year, BTSD is incorporating play-based learning with classroom teachers in addition to outdoor recess with lunch monitors. “We are providing our students with opportunities to choose the objects with which they play,” said Sue Sutton, kindergarten teacher at Mill Creek Elementary School. “They are encouraged to organize and plan their play while practicing appropriate social interactions with peers.”
Sutton has had opportunities to guide students and assess academics while playing as well. During playtime, Sutton helped students set up a pumpkin shop. She helped students sound out the word “pumpkin” to write letters for the sign. Students decided pumpkins would be sold at one dollar each and another student created a price tag. Next, Sutton asked questions such as, “How much money does it cost to buy three pumpkins?”
“I then could test for one-to-one correspondence and counting skills while students counted out the one dollar bills to pay,” Sutton recalls.
Some kindergarten students have never attended preschool or daycare, and have no siblings, so having to share and play together is a new concept for them. This is why kindergarten teachers are spending a lot of time assisting students with developing social skills, making decisions and problem-solving, and sharing with their peers.
“I believe this is time well spent and our students are going to be better off socially because of play,” said Sutton.