Districts Push for Play-Based Learning in Early Ed

Watertown City School District implements play-based The Creative Curriculum® leading to more engaged students, classroom collaboration and better academic outcomes.

BETHESDA, Md. (February 6, 2018) – To learn the word “the,” Kristen Bauter’s kindergartners used to sit at their desks with a worksheet and circle words scattered across the page. Now, the 5-year-olds stand at a station digging through shredded blue paper to find cardboard fish marked “the.”

It’s a change for the Watertown City School District in far upstate New York, where Bauter works. This year, the district has implemented a play-based learning curriculum for kindergartners and first-graders in its five elementary schools, an effort to make learning more developmentally appropriate and to cultivate students’ social-emotional skills.

It’s also in alignment with the state of New York’s new standards for early learners, which encourage play and “active, joyful engagement.”

“This is an intentional effort to remain within developmentally appropriate parameters that do not pit play against ‘academic’ learning,” the state’s Board of Regents said after voting in September to adopt the Next Generation math and English standards to replace the Common Core.

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Caitlin Cox
caitlin@whiteboardadvisors.com
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