Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Pretend Play: So Much More than Acting
Pretend Play can be under appreciated in preschool classrooms. Often, it is used as a choice area that children are welcome to visit along with blocks, art, reading, or other centers. Teachers often incorporate this area with kitchen and it together becomes "housekeeping" or "dress up." I have recently read an article that challenged teachers and parents to think about Pretend Play differently. Pretend Play uses children's imaginations, voices, and ideas to produce a social interaction between children. This time of situation can be used for so much more than modeling home-like functions. Teachers are urged to use Pretend Play as a tool in many portions of the curriculum. A great example can be seen through literacy. If a class is beginning a unit on fairy tales, I would urge the teacher to have the children create a script for the class to remake a common fairy tale (or a variant if they wish!) Then, the children can plan out how to reenact this particular story. Literacy concepts can be used through the script making processes, and children can imitate this in other subjects as well. The reason that Pretend Play is encouraged so heavily is because it provides a depth of experience that cannot be substituted with any other experiences. The act of interacting out loud to display a wealth of new knowledge with peers is unmatched. Children are gaining confidence, utilizing creativity, making deep, personal connections with the curriculum, practicing social skills, and creating unity through their school experience. Subjects should not be exclusive, but inclusive and each should be integrated throughout the entire curriculum. Creating this time of cohesive experience in a preschool setting will allow students to make connections between subjects, and allow them to think creatively and logically when problem solving. I love the idea behind Pretend Play in all areas of the classroom. Bring this experience out of the choice area, and into your daily activities. Let children enjoy the opportunities that Pretend Play provides, and watch as your students become critical, well-rounded thinkers through the curriculum integration.