It’s easy to see the delight of a child engaged in playing – but what if the same emotion could be applied to learning? When the bridge between playing and learning is actively encouraged by adults, young children are much more likely to absorb and retain information. Recognizing and building on that relationship is the focus of Learning to Play, Playing to Learn, a daylong workshop for those working with young children to be held on October 13th at Washington County Community College [WCCC].
The special relationship between play and learning has been thoroughly demonstrated by current research, as event co-organizer Theresa Fisk summarizes. “Young children are active, sensory learners who learn best through play-based experiences with thoughtful and responsive adults. Young children are not built for sitting still; developmentally appropriate opportunities for play creates an ideal environment for learning.” Fisk, who is among the workshop’s planners, has worked in the field for the past three decades and now serves as the District Early Childhood and Youth Coordinator for Maine Roads to Quality. WCCC, Maine Roads to Quality Professional Development Network, and the Maine Association for the Education of Young Children have collaborated fully to plan and offer the workshop.
Learning to Play, Playing to Learn will include a variety of presenters and presentation styles, Fisk provides. The keynote speaker is Tara Williams, Executive Director of the Maine Association for the Education of Young Children, who will be discussing the spirit of adult play. WCCC’s Early Childhood Educators Linda Levesque and Elizabeth Phillips will present on how projects can be approached to achieve optimum engagement and results, while Betsy Squibb, former Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Maine, will share in the practice of creating and making with beautiful ‘junk.’ During the lunch hour, community members Margo Puma and Caroline Dilio will demonstrate playful mindfulness techniques in the form of chair drumming and yoga, respectively.
The workshop is designed for anyone working with children up to age 8, including teachers, childcare providers, and caregivers. Those who work in a peripheral sense to support the health of families and children in the community are also encouraged to attend. Registration information can be found at www.maineaeyc.org/registration.
Learning to Play, Playing to Learn will take place on Saturday, October 13th, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in WCCC’s Riverview Hall.