142 ChaPter 7 a lot of your energy. It also interrupts the real learning that is taking place. Instead, if you anticipate and include room for these unscripted and important encounters, you create just the right environment for reflection, interpretation, and application. overview Why is the reflection, interpretation, and application standard important for healthy child development? Young children are continuously struggling to make sense of their experi- ences. To do this, they construct theories to explain their impressions and perceptions. They then apply these theories to new experiences to see if they work. This process of taking experience, reflecting on it, interpreting its mean- ing, and applying it to new contexts is the child’s essential work. This is how children continually add to and refine the conceptual framework they are building. Young children process information differently from adults. They most often order and structure their understanding of what they see and experience through play. Play is a vital component of children’s learning. It is through play that children actively process their experiences, test out their understandings, refine their theories, and apply new ideas. pragmatic view How do states and national early childhood organizations classify reflection, interpretation, and application? While reflection, interpretation, and application do not generally appear together in state standards, we have grouped them here because they are best understood as interconnected steps. In our experience, children engage with these three approaches to learning in a unified way as they process information and learn from their experiences. Understanding each of these terms individually helps the understand- ing of how they work together. Reflection involves recapturing experience to think about it again or from a new perspective and with new depth. Children often reflect on their experiences as they play, engaging in dialogue, thinking (silently or aloud), asking questions, or conversing with others. Interpretation LensFinal.indd 142 9/16/10 10:47:54 AM