I continue to be a huge fan of letting children play. There is play here and there, but incorporating play into content remains an excellent way to teach content in both meaningful and memorable ways. I found an article entitled: Let the Children Play, It’s Good for Them by Alison Gopnik, July 2012, in the online Smithsonian Magazine. Before reading the article, I decided to look for the following attributes:
Story There is a strong story about the purpose and affinity for children playing. The author, Alison, referred to her laboratory at UC Berkley as the source for further study about learning and play with preschoolers. She promotes the premise that children who pretend are better able to reason. A bold statement that supports her thesis is this:
“Even toddlers turn out to be smarter than we would have thought if we ask them the right questions in the right way.”
Research Other than Ms. Gopnik’s research there is no other specific link, credit, or mention given to other research in this area. There is no triangulation. There are broad sweeping thoughts as the quote above. There were no data to view either, just there
Content Understanding The article did not drone on, and it did speak to the importance of children at play. I completely understood what her she wrote. She contends from the beginning of the article to the end that pretend play is important for developing what she calls “counterfactual” thinking which she explained is like “Einstein wondering what would happen if a train went at the speed of light”.
While I understand the study, it seems very circuitous, especially when the discussion of children being told about a “zando”, a key element to their choices of making the music play for the monkey was discussed. While I whole-heartedly believe that play goes hand in hand with learning, I do not submit that this is an excellent scholarly choice for backing that statement.