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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Implementing Curriculum through the Planning/Observation/Individualization Cycle must be organized and used in ways that make learning positive, engaging, active, and exciting. Then they must facilitate children’s play experiences so that the play is high-level play that deeply engages children, rather than play that is chaotic and out of control. They may facilitate by providing certain materials—menus and other restaurant items, for example—or by asking children provocative questions—“What else do you think you could make with the blocks?” When the environment is well organized and teachers are involved with the children as they play, behavior problems are kept to a minimum, and learning occurs. Effective preschool and kindergarten teachers organize the classroom environment—and they plan for play. They think carefully about each area of the classroom—blocks, dramatic play, sensory table, manipula- tives, writing center, class library, art area—and identify learning goals related to what children will do in each area. These learning goals help teachers determine what materials are needed and how they can support the children’s learning and development. Teachers review their plans for children’s play every week and change the learning goals as needed. Consider how to plan for play in one area of the classroom, the block area, let’s say. Most preschool classrooms (and I hope most kindergarten classrooms!) have a large set of wooden blocks organized on shelves by shape and size. In addition, the area may include small cars, traffic signs, and people and animal figures too. Many learning goals are addressed as children play with these materials, including the following: • shape identification as they use the different shaped blocks, match and compare them, determine that two triangles make a square, two squares a rectangle, and so on • measurement concepts as they use long and short blocks and cre- ate taller structures or longer roads • sorting and categorizing by shape and size • counting and understanding of quantity as they figure out how many blocks are needed to complete a planned structure (“We need three more blocks for the bridge to reach the road.”) or place one car on one block or a group of animal figures in a pen (“I have four horses in my barn.”) • understanding of the properties of gravity, weight, balance, and momentum COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 23