Taking on the Adventure in Play - July 2019

Learning to Play, Playing to Learn

At the Gesell Program in Early Childhood, we believe in the power of play. The magic of teaching happens in that place where we bring the joy, wonder and purpose together with the work of building essential skills and engaging with core content. Play-based learning takes the best of the child-directed nature of free play and combines it with the focus on learning outcomes and the adult scaffolding that are found in traditional academic classrooms. As described in our blog post Why Playful Learning Works, developmentally appropriate play can promote the social-emotional, cognitive, language and self-regulation skills that build executive function and a prosocial brain. In short, play is learning.

This summer, Gesell has partnered with New Haven Public Schools for a play-based learning pilot. For four days in June, teachers from around the district trained with developmental psychologists and educators from Gesell to revisit developmentally appropriate practice and define a shared understanding of a pedagogy of play. The learning intensive culminated in collaborating to co-create classrooms infused with joy, purpose and wonder that would serve nearly 200 pre-k through third graders during the month of July.


Read the full article on the Yale PEER website.

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