Learning through play

As a kindergarten teacher, I recognize the importance of learning through play. I realize that children need to explore their world and through this exploration they will learn and grow. Teaching kindergarten in today's society children are not always allowed to play because the standards say they will meet and exceed x, y and z before being allowed to go onto first grade. I used to joke and say I don't teach kindergarten I teach boot camp for first grade!

As a mother, I find myself questioning how much I should be "teaching" Blake and how much he will learn through the exploration of his world. Can I actually prove that children learn through facilitated play by providing a rich learning environment for my own children to play in? Can I mold my children into becoming life long learners without shoving the skills at them at such an early age? Well.... I'm going to try!

It is hard as a mother to hear people talk about their children who are the same age who can copy animal sounds, point to their body parts, know some of their colors, etc... when if you ask Blake any of these questions he looks at you like you have five heads. But, at the same time I know he knows some of his body parts as you tell him to put his arm in the sleeve and he can do it on his own without you touching his arm. He knows to move his hand when you say watch your fingers.

I find it hard to balance the teacher and the mommy and the funny thing is the mommy is the side of me that feels like I need to "teach" him these skills. The teacher in me knows that he is learning, he is making progress and he will show it in his own time. The mommy in me wants to make him learn to clap his hands and give high fives so people will stop looking at him like... why don't you do that. The teacher in me knows that Blake learns what he sees Richard and I doing and imitates our behaviors... how often do you go around giving high fives your husband??


  1. I struggle with this as well. I went to the store and bought spaghetti, non-toxic washable finger paints, and yarn because another teacher said that these are things I should/could use for teaching/playing with J. Ugh. It went OK--he tried to eat the spaghetti, eat the yarn, and I'm too nervous to try the paints (he'll try to eat that, I'm sure!). Until I spoke with her, I thought just hugging, tickling, playing with his feet, rolling around on the floor, playing superman, giving raspberries, kisses . . . was plenty for a 6 month old! Apparently, in some circles that might NOT be enough. I'm thinking I don't care--is he happy? Check. Healthy? Check. Safe? Check. 'Nuff said . . . for now, anyway :)

    BTW, did you see what I did with the meme you tagged me for???

  2. i also struggle with this as people tend to compare my son to their children! DRIVES me crazy and makes me feel like i'm failing him. But then I see him doing things that other children can't do and I'm like "I am doing ok!" makes me feel better!

  3. I know what you mean. The struggle between teacher and parent is a tough one. My kids still play in Kindergarten. Some teachers have eliminated this time but I think it is VERY important.

  4. What? High fives and belly bumps aren't what you do to greet hubby at the door? hee hee hee- just kidding!

    It is so hard to not compare our children to other kids or to what other people think our kids should do. I remember breaking down into hysterical tears after Riley was born because hubby's aunt called and asked when she could come visit when he wouldn't be sleeping (he was only a few weeks old). I cried for the whole day because I thought I was a bad mommy because I had NO idea when he would sleep or be awake yet. Now I realize how silly that was and it all works out. Hang in there, play with him, read to him, and the rest will come!

  5. Sadly, I do less "teaching" with each kid. But thankfully they pick up so much from their siblings that it balances out.

  6. I remember playing with my children, just laughing and hanging out, taking walks, and following their lead, supporting their curiosity. I think I did alright. They are 24 and 26 and are software engineers at Google.com. The love their jobs, their lives, and their parents!!

    They're happy so I'm happy.

    my advice: Chill. Find friends with similar values and avoid people who make you doubt your parenting skills.


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