Yes, you CAN have a playful kindergarten in a digital world.
A playful kindergarten AND a digital word may sound like two ideas that do not go together sort of like suger-less candy. However, a playful classroom and a digital world are not mutually exclusive. In fact, it is actually easier to create a playful kindergarten in a digital world.
We all can agree that in the last few years kindergarten has become more and more like first grade. The demands on both the students and the teachers have increased. So has the stress. We are expected to get our kindergarten students to an ever-increasing benchmark and it feels like play and playfulness are being squeezed out.
Decreased recess time, the elimination of dramatic play, blocks, and play, add to an increase in disruptions. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Many teachers report seeing an increase in challenging behaviors and we are seeing more and more information about managing our student’s stress level. Most schools are trying desperately to adopt PBIS strategies to adapt to the ever increasing social emotional needs of our kids. Hmm. it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to imagine that maybe just maybe we are seeing an increase in stress and challenging behaviors because we have taken the fun out of kindergarten.
Ask any teacher after a week of indoor recess if taking away play impacts behaviors.
Teachers don’t need research studies to know that the more we demand students to sit, the more challenging behaviors we see.
Kindergarten doesn’t have to be an all or nothing situation. We can focus on the importance of play while still achieving the academic levels that our administrators so clearly want (demand).
Adding digital into our daily routines creates more time for the activities we know in our heart they need.
By adding digital into our daily routines we are creating more time for all the activities we know in our hearts they need. Time, that elusive item that all teachers search for. Finding the time to get everything we need to do seems insurmountable. My goodness, just trying to get our progress monitoring done feels like a tremendous burden. Digital resources lessens that burden.
When we bring Google Classroom and Boom Learning into our classes with Chromebooks and iPads allow us to easily differentiate our instruction. It’s difficult to differentiate the same center to all our learning needs. However, on a digital device we can adjust the scaffolding with the click of a button.
It’s time that we use our digital toolbox to create a more playful kindergarten.