Montessori Monday~ Playtime Promises

“The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things.”
                                                                                                                                     ~ Plato

Today we took a play day. Such a simple thing to do, sit and play all day long. Even I played! Bunny, Pup, and I all built Legos for most of the morning! We created together, talked together, and had fun! Plus we build a great salon/ restaurant! It also had me thinking about playtime. I really dont think that anyone debates the importance of play for young kids. They need it like they need sleep! However, I realized that sometimes we forget that older kids are still young kids! I know that Pup needs to play every day and so much of her school work is really just wonderful play! Bunny on the other hand needs to do school work, needs to do some other things.  She is a first grader. Sometime i think that I forget that play is just as important for her too! School work should be mostly fun and rather play like. They seem to learn so much more when they are playing and the moments of setting up an imaginary world will sometimes even prompt some learning! So when do we start to put pressure on the little ones to learn more, learn at a certain rate, or even learn a certain way? Why is it at 6 or 7 that we tell them that now they are big now? Are they really old enough to work without play or are we told they should be? Should play be more a part of every single day? Just because school work needs to be done doesnt mean that it has to be boring or  These are the thoughts that have been running through my mind. I tell Bunny she has to do school work, and she tells me she hates it. It is a far cry from my goals of creating a love of learning in my kids. It is how I make sure that she is getting all the learning in that she needs to by state standards. So how do I make sure that we are learning all the right things done, but that the learning is playful. Now playful is not something that Montessori is work is know for, however is really is. Montessori says many times in her writings that these exercises should be fun and like a game for the children. Yes they focus and concentrate and learn, but is fun for them! She has an example of her playfully showing a group of children how to blow their noses. She talks about games where the children were laughing, and shouting, and happy! This is not an educational system of work, it is an educational system of play! Play is the child’s work! It is no less true as the child moves into the elementary years. Maria Montessori stresses many times that the learning should be presented as exciting stories and should capture the child’s imagination! It should make them really want to find out more! So how does this all play out in real life? How do I make play a central aspect of our life. It is humbling to realize that we did get into a rut of doing what we had to do instead of making it all fun. Sure we have done some fun work lately, but really nothing has grabbed her attention and held it. I am thinking that maybe its me! So today I am making a promise to myself to try to bring play into our school room!
What are your thoughts on play and work?
Be sure to stop by Montessori Monday for lots more Montessori fun! Happy Schooling!