Since the beginning of the school year I have had the pleasure of observing (and at times partaking in) the dramatic play area of the classroom. And while at times I've questioned the value of the conversations I am overhearing, overall, I know that what the children are engaging in is so invaluable to their development that those moments when I hear "potty" talk or what I perceive as silly conversations, are completely overshadowed by the wonderfully rich and creative conversations that usually happen in this area.
Our year started out with a housekeeping area - hearing children learn how to problem solve or think creatively while negotiating their time in the housekeeping area can be both wonderfully humorous and also quite intriguing. Often I hear their own iteration of what they think they've heard at home or what they interpret they've heard, and it is filled with possibilities and excitement.
The past six weeks I've had the pleasure of observing and listening to children while they imagine what it would be like to explore space and the great vastness of the universe. Hearing children use words like launch and ignition, and share their feelings about being a bit nervous about taking off, I know that these moments are helping them learn from each other, but these conversations are also helping to develop empathy and deepen their awareness of a world beyond themselves. When I hear children exclaim, "I want to be an astronaut when I grow up," well, it sure makes my heart swell!
Dramatic play in the classroom supports the development of many skills, most notably: expressive and receptive language, creative thinking, problem solving, self-regulation, and cooperation and sharing. Likewise, dramatic play supports challenging academic standards in several ways. Oral language ability is considered one of the top four factors that determine future reading success; therefore it can be argued that dramatic play helps boost reading progress.
Dramatic play in the kindergarten classroom? I wouldn't give it up for anything!
Have a great three-day weekend everyone. We look forward to seeing you on the 14th for our Storyline Culmination!
-Ms. Jane, Kindergarten Teacher