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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET When kindergarten teachers are surveyed about their students, they say that the biggest problem they face is not children who don’t know their letters and numbers; it is kids who don’t know how to manage their tem- pers or calm themselves down after a provocation. —Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character This book is about playful ways to support children while they develop and practice social skills. It is a follow-up to our 2012 book, Let Them Play: An Early Learning (Un)Curriculum, and our 2013 book, Let’s Play: (Un)Curriculum Early Learning Adventures, and is intended for early learning professionals and families who want to support hands-on, child-led, play-based learning. It helps adults accustomed to rigidly structured, adult-led early learning curriculum ease into an (un)curricu- lum that supports good old-fashioned play and trusts kids as learners. Easing into an (un)curriculum is important, because for many people, the idea of giving up control and letting children lead is very scary. Think of the following information as the book’s FAQ page. If an (un)curricu- lum is new to you, the FAQs will bring you up to speed. What is an (un)curriculum? An (un)curriculum is hands-on, child-led, play-based learning supported by the preparation, encouragement, and facilitation of an adult. Here are the principles of an (un)curriculum: yy An (un)curriculum is supported by brain-development research. yy An (un)curriculum nurtures the individual child. yy An (un)curriculum sees everything as a learning opportunity. yy In an (un)curriculum, the job of the caregiver is to see learning moments and make the most of them, building on the child’s prior knowledge and life experience. yy An (un)curriculum is based on children’s needs, likes, and interests. yy In an (un)curriculum, great care is taken by adults to ensure that all aspects of the program are geared toward supporting the unique needs of individual children. yy An (un)curriculum supports children’s autonomy. yy In an (un)curriculum, children are trusted as learners. yy A commitment to play is the defining feature of an (un)curriculum. 2 Introduction: Social Play COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL