During the school day, there should be extended time for play. Research has shown unequivocally that children learn best when they are interested in the material or activity they are learning. Play — from building contraptions to enacting stories to inventing games — can allow children to satisfy their curiosity about the things that interest them in their own way. It can also help them acquire higher-order thinking skills, like generating testable hypotheses, imagining situations from someone else’s perspective and thinking of alternate solutions.
Play is at the center of much of what we focus on at Pembroke Kids. Susan Engle, director of the teaching program at Williams College, thinks that play should also be an important part of every child’s elementary education, and continue long after children leave preschool.