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I'm in New Mexico and my P is absolutely the best. He trusts his teachers to do what they know is best.

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
kindiesarefun 06-29-2019 07:32 PM

We do about a half hour of play first thing in the morning. We take the kids outside to play for about ten minutes after morning meeting and they get twenty minutes of recess after lunch. At the end of the day we either do inside play (kitchen, blocks, sand table) or outside play for about 30 minutes. So all in all, the kids get about an hour and a half a day of play time.
In addition, twice a month we take our kids to a nearby forest for nature immersion, which includes about three hours of free play in the woods. They climb trees, splash in the stream, build forts....they love it!!

Zia 06-26-2019 07:35 PM

I'm in New Mexico and my P is absolutely the best. He trusts his teachers to do what they know is best.

jcm 06-26-2019 05:07 PM

Zia,
If you don't mind me asking, where do you teach? It is amazing how flexible your school is with play! I love it!

Sbkangas5 06-26-2019 01:32 PM

Quote:
So what do your centers/ literacy groups look like content wise?
My academic center time depends on the time of year. Sep-Dec my kids go to one center per day, and then have a choice of "may-do" activities when they are done. Centers are heterogenous and are me (reading skills or guided writing), a parent (usually some kind of game), ipad (Lexia), and one other independent center that goes with our unit of study. The "may-do" activities are all literacy based but more open ended or hands-on. Games they have learned, magnetic letters to build sight words, a small sensory bin with some sort of activity to go with it, blank books, read to a stuffed animal, handwriting pages, lots of cutting and gluing activities, write the room, puzzles, stuff like that. In January we change to a must-do/may-do format, and they have 3-4 activities that they must do, and then they have the choice of the may-do when they are done with them all. I pull homogenous groups (from 2-7 kids) to work on literacy skills and guided reading, and I still have a parent helper pulling one group per day.

My play time is just play time, and they have free choice. I've never liked dictating what they must play with or how many kids can play at one place. Learning to navigate those things is a huge part of their social learning. I might pull them to do an art project, but never to do intervention or academics. I like to sit and play with them, ask questions, help with social issues, or just enjoy the magic of kinder.
starelly 06-26-2019 11:49 AM

So what do your centers/ literacy groups look like content wise? I currently incorporate play as they do 5 rotation and one is art, one is free exploration of a set math manipulative and they get to use an iPad. Did you take out play during centers or did you keep that in too? My admin is very supportive but I don't want her to think I just "play all day"

Also I am a firm believer in free play but as a newer teacher, how do I explain this to visiting district personnel or members of my team that are not so play-oriented? They find it hard to justify when our kiddos are only here for 1/2 day (3 hrs instructional time).

Zia 06-25-2019 12:50 PM

Holy cow. Like I needed more proof you are my twin, Sbkanagas: we both gave up computer lab time for play!

Sbkangas5 06-25-2019 11:34 AM

Quote:
I would love to have more play, but can't figure out how to fit it in.
I give up other things to keep my play time. We don't go to the computer lab and play instead. Some on my team have been wanting to go back to Friday rotations, and I keep pushing back in order to keep my long chunk of play time. And, honestly, sometimes I'll forgo academics in order to play. Especially when I see them needing to work on their social skills, or if it's a lesson that I know most of them already have a good grasp of.
Zia 06-25-2019 04:04 AM

Quote:
Zia,
I am really interested in trying this. Another question about your schedule-how long do they play first thing in the morning, and do they get another similar play time in the afternoon?
Thanks for inspiring me!
My kids get about an hour each morning. They come in at the bell, we take attendance and lunch count, and then they get to do their thang. Our pull outs (PE, Music/Art, Library) are th last hour of the day. I gave up my slot in the Computer Lab, which gives me an hour at the end of the day on Mondays. That's when I pull out the fine motor stuff (tweezers/beads, play doh, etc.). So my one afternoon hour of free time is structured. Again, this is in addition to PE (45 min a week) and recess (two 15 min ones and a 30 min one). I love my schedule now! Best luck--I always root for ECE teachers to bring in DAP!
ElizabethJoy 06-24-2019 09:34 PM

My schedule is similar to others on this thread, with an hour of recess each day and 30 mins of play each afternoon, except on Fridays when we have an hour. I should say that my school day is probably shorter than many here, since in Australia we go from 9 to 3.

I would love to have more play, but can't figure out how to fit it in. I do try to sneak as many play based activities into my literacy rotations as possible.

jcm 06-23-2019 02:58 PM

Zia,
I am really interested in trying this. Another question about your schedule-how long do they play first thing in the morning, and do they get another similar play time in the afternoon?
Thanks for inspiring me!

Haley23 06-23-2019 10:37 AM

Our kinders get two recesses, but the 2nd one is really only because their specials are only half as long as everyone else's. They go to specials for 25 minutes and then recess with paras for the remaining 25 minutes so the teachers' plan time is the same as other grade levels. They also do 30 minutes of open centers at the end of the day. We are full day and the rest of the day is very rigorous.

Zia 06-23-2019 05:15 AM

Quote:
Zia,
When you say playtime at the beginning of the day, do you mean centers such as pretend play, blocks, art center, etc.? Or more like a choice time where there are table activities centered around fine motor skills?
We call it Self Selection and they can do anything they want, so long as it doesn't create a problem for themselves or others. Blocks, dress up, games/puzzles, creative area (now called a MAKER SPACE, lol), play kitchen, imaginative play, etc.

Everything Sbkangas said is true for me as well. Putting Self Selection first has completely revolutionized my day. The kids get to talk and play and then clean up waaay more quickly than they did when it was at the end of the day, and then they come together ready to focus on calendar and math. I also have just about ZERO bickers to mediate now and it used to be constant...because they were TIRED.

It has also greatly reduced tardies. Kids are so excited to come to school and they pressure parents to be on time.

It has been amazing and the other three K teachers at my school report the same.
jcm 06-22-2019 04:20 PM

Zia,
When you say playtime at the beginning of the day, do you mean centers such as pretend play, blocks, art center, etc.? Or more like a choice time where there are table activities centered around fine motor skills?

Sbkangas5 06-22-2019 10:28 AM

Quote:
I would love to start my day with 20-30 min of free play but what do your kiddos do and what does teacher do? Is it dramatic play and blocks or more engineering with legos. I would want to do free choice time. And do you pull intervention groups?
I talk with kids. Check in and see how they are. Sit on the floor and play with them. Laugh. Answer parent questions. Take attendance. Get a feel for how they're doing that day. Sometimes I'll pull them one on one to read.

My morning play is fine motor based. Over the years I've collected a lot of toys and activities that really work on their fine motor skills. I have 5-6 different fine motor activities, plus usually some type of open ended art activity (which sometimes piggy backs on fine motor, like teeny drawings with fine tip sharpies, using tweezers to glue confetti pieces onto popsicle sticks, or anything requiring white glue).

I can't emphasize enough how it changed my day for the better. Kids are eager to come and play, they get a chance to socialize and talk, the slow starters get the opportunity to ease into the day, and if I have any criers or parental issues that come up I have the time to deal with them. I know right away if anyone needs some extra love or patience that day. And the kids are so much more ready for academics after having had time to play and socialize!
starelly 06-22-2019 09:00 AM

We are half day. We have two 15 min recess. I try to incorporate play during centers and we have free choice Friday. I would love to start my day with 20-30 min of free play but what do your kiddos do and what does teacher do? Is it dramatic play and blocks or more engineering with legos. I would want to do free choice time. And do you pull intervention groups?

anna 06-21-2019 05:27 PM

I had 2 ten minute recesses and one 20 minute play time after the students had lunch. In the classroom, we had roughly 30 minutes in the late afternoon for choice time with friends. Standards vary by state and our admin interpret the k standards for our state in such a way that play time is a low priority. We all know that is messed up thinking but with unannounced observations that are recorded,most teachers stuck to the insisted upon schedule. It is a darn shame that admin in our school's community get away with such poor classroom practice.

Zia 06-21-2019 05:18 AM

I agree with Sbkangas! We have always had an hour of free play, but last year (on Sbkangas' suggestion) we moved it from the end of the day to the beginning of the day. This required changing the ENTIRE master schedule. I love that my school is supportive of ECE, because that was a HUGE shift for everyone. And my behavior problems went from minor to just about zero.

I don't have a nearby park, but we do have a canyon designated as an Open Space. We go there 5x a year, observing each of the four seasons and then again for Earth Day (to pick up trash).

It makes me so sad to hear stories like the ones in this thread. My gosh, they are five! And the value of play in ECE is well documented.

Sbkangas5 06-20-2019 08:03 PM

Quote:
I envy Zia's hour for recess and hour for free play and Sbkangas5's ability to go to the park. I can imagine how awesome that is.
It is! And here's the interesting (yet not so surprising) thing... Out of 5 kinder classes, I am the only one that does that much unstructured free play during the day and the only one that will spend the whole day in the park. I also do less paperwork and academics than anyone else and make more of my centers and activities hands on and developmentally appropriate. And guess what? My kids are always at the same level or above everyone else's kids. And 90% of the time I have a class with less behavior issues. Hmmmm....
iteachk2010 06-20-2019 06:47 PM

Our schedules are tight. I give my students the first 20 minutes free time while waiting for everyone to arrive. We have activities on the tables they can choose to do-puzzles, mini-Jenga, drawing, books... We have 20 minutes for recess (unstructured play) every day and 30 minutes for PE every day-3 days with PE teacher and 2 days with classroom teacher, but PE is structured. I also try to squeeze in free-choice center time-kitchen center, blocks-wood blocks, cardboard bricks, Legos, Tinker Toys, Bristle Blocks, Keva planks ... puzzles, sand table, fine motor activities, art center, puppets and discovery table. Some years I am able to have 30 minutes every day. Other years I might end up with 2 days for 15 minutes and 3 days for 30 minutes.
I envy Zia's hour for recess and hour for free play and Sbkangas5's ability to go to the park. I can imagine how awesome that is.

TeacherPK6 06-20-2019 06:20 PM

Quote:
We don't get much play time at all. 30 minutes a day for recess and we get pe twice a week for 45 minutes. Other than that it's all academics all the time.


It's the same at my school except recess is about 20 min (though we stretch it longer if we can).
essence253 06-20-2019 04:22 PM

We don't get much play time at all. 30 minutes a day for recess and we get pe twice a week for 45 minutes. Other than that it's all academics all the time.

Sbkangas5 06-20-2019 03:56 PM

I have 30 minutes in class each morning (focusing on fine motor activities and toys), and an hour and a half on Friday afternoons (we get out things like the sensory and light table, painting easel, large scale blocks and builders, etc). Plus we have about 60 minutes of recess each day. I also take them to the park about once a month and after 30 minutes of science they have the rest of the day to play and explore. At the beginning of the year they also have another 30 minutes at the end of the day.


We also have pe for 45 min, 3x per week.

Zia 06-20-2019 03:49 PM

I have an hour of free play first thing in the morning (thanks again, Sbkangas!), and they have an hour of recess a day. I have another hour at the end of the day on Mondays because we don't have pull-outs that day (art/music/PE/libe).

If you need research showing the crucial role play plays in ECE, PM me. Just off the top of my head, Alfie Kohn is amazing.

jcm 06-20-2019 02:37 PM

How much play time do you have in your schedule? We are always trying to convince administrators that play is important- it is an ongoing issue. We want to bring the joy back to kindergarten!




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