NWESD Services Menu

Putting Play Back into K

Putting Play Back into K

Children at playResearch about the benefits of play for children (and adults!) is abundant and yet it is still largely absent from kindergarten classrooms across the country. As schools in our state make the shift to a full day in kindergarten, I hear teachers and administrators discussing how to put play back into K… in the best possible way!

The new Washington State Full-Day Kindergarten Guide features a compelling model of play-based learning referred to as Plan-Do-Reflect. Many teachers in our region have been using this evidence-based model to facilitate purposeful play in their classrooms, with many more beginning to include it in their daily schedule.

During Plan-Do-Reflect, sometimes called Plan-Do-Review, children first develop a plan, articulating their thinking to peers. They then have an extended period of time to carry out their ideas. Because their own plans are meaningful to them, teachers often find that children are highly engaged during this time. Play concludes with a period of reflection; children recall their actions, evaluate their experiences and consider implications for future plans. Throughout Plan-Do-Reflect teachers are able to observe and interact with students, extending their play and leading their development.

Plan-Do-Reflect can be an effective means of incorporating intentional play-based learning into full-day kindergarten classrooms, with benefits that carry over into other areas of children’s lives. You can find out more about the Washington State Full-Day Kindergarten Guide and Plan-Do-Reflect here: http://www.k12.wa.us/EarlyLearning/pubdocs/WAFull-dayKGuide-January2016.pdf.