One of the themes in the articles that I read was about the importance of learning through play. Another theme was about the concern that teachers are being pressured to focus more on curriculum teaching using worksheets and textbooks instead of allowing young students time to get the activity and play they need. I know that my students are able to focus better when they have movement. I also found it helpful that the research explained what learning centers are and how to implement them successfully. An article I found stated that students, “have different interests and needs, and are motivated when they are permitted to make choices based on these unique needs and interests” (McCarthy, 1977).
Almost all of the articles I read discussed the importance of dramatic play and allowing students to use their imagination as often as possible. I love to watch my students play, especially on the playground. I have found that their ideas are very elaborate and one of their favorite things to do is look for buried treasure. Even the snow does not stop them, they have problem solved and found ways to dig through some of the snow. In my classroom, my students love to pretend to play that they are animals when they are in the dramatic play center. I watched three of them as they acted out the story goldilocks and the three bears. I read in an article, “high-level play in the classroom occurs in two major arenas, manipulative materials play and dramatic play” (Christensen & Kelly, 2003). One of my students moved away last week. I had my students draw a picture of something they like about him, like to do with him or something they would like to do with him. My students drew elaborate pictures and I was impressed with the amount of detail. One student had the two of them planting flowers in the snow while it rained purple flowers.
These themes may help others in this course because they are teachers. Some of my classmates are researching the importance of brain breaks, which is movement. I believe that there are other benefits that others might get from my research, such as acting out scenes from books. I also believe that older students could benefit from centers and hopefully my research will give others ideas on how to implement centers successfully in their own classroom.
Christensen , A., & Kelly, K. (2003). No Time for Play: Throwing the Baby out with the Bath Water. The Reading Teacher, 528-530.
McCarthy, M. M. (1977). The How and Why of Learning Centers. The Elementary School Journal, 292-299.