• Time. Children need ample time to settle into play. It’s best for adults to set
aside our rigid schedules and to operate on kid time.
• Team. Allowing children to choose who they interact with is another way
to support child-led play. Let’s face it: we’re all happier, more engaged,
and more eager to try new things when we’re surrounded by people we
enjoy being with.
• Technique. Letting kids decide how they’re going to do what they’re doing
is another way to trust kids as learners. A child’s approach to an activity or
task may not be as orderly or straightforward as yours, but early learning
is more about the journey than the destination. Trust.
Letting kids lead requires trust. Trusting kids as able, thoughtful, and eager
learners creates a solid foundation for play-based learning. Trusting kids means
giving them some control over their learning. Realize that children know what
they’re interested in and have an innate understanding of their own abilities.
When you do, you’ll be able to trust them to learn.
• Make room.
Kids need room to move in because play is oftentimes a full-body activity. Too
often, early learning settings are cramped and cluttered. Big, wide-open, and
flexible spaces are best for early learning.
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