CEO Sarah Walzer Blogs About Play on Huffington Post

For those of us who have been leading the rallying cry to commit greater resources to early childhood education, we are living in encouraging times. The national focus on the word “gap” and the push for universal pre-K, in particular, should be celebrated and supported. Now, we also need to focus on those who are already behind before they start pre-K. We need to ensure that all of our children are truly ready to be in a classroom and able to take advantage of all educational opportunities. A key aspect of bridging this ‘pre-pre-K’ gap is supporting the infusion of play into every child’s early years.
Play has long been regarded by early childhood development experts as a critical element in early learning. It is valuable for building a whole array of skills from language to social-emotional behaviors to creativity. As Dr. Alison Gopnick, a well-known early childhood researcher, has noted, “children learn by playing with everyday objects and by pretending. The old standbys of water, sand, mixing bowls, and cardboard boxes are still the most effective ways for babies and young children to learn about the physical world while the whole world of pretend — dolls and costumes and toy dishes — is the most effective way to learn about the social world.” Read More