|A child playing in Bloomer|
Play Is the Way is a new 3 minute video created by Sheila Briggs at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. I highly recommend taking a peek. And showing it to your stakeholders, especially if they aren't sure if you need the space and resources for play in your library, or if they question a change in the focus of your programming. The video makes some really great points about skills kids are learning in play:
- Focus and ability to shift attention
- Figuring out power dynamics
- Communication and articulation
- Creating, negotiating, and changing rules
All of these things activate the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is critical for developing executive functioning skills and leads to better self-regulation and academic success. While playing, children can solve more complex problems and tend to speak in more grammatically complex ways than they would if engaging in a teacher-driven activity. It takes intention and skill to set up these spaces in such a way that kids are able to explore and learn, and the payoff is definitely worth it!