2 Introduction planning, attention to the environment and materials, and coaching on the part of the teacher to make it happen and to sustain it. Good teachers work hard to do so. In the third edition of Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8 (DAP) released by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) (Copple and Bredekamp 2009), there are many statements about the value and impor- tance of play and teachers’ roles in enhancing play. Here are some of them: • Play is an important vehicle for developing self-regulation as well as for promoting language, cognition, and social competence. (Principle 10 of the NAEYC Position Statement, 14) • Active scaffolding of imaginative play is needed in early childhood settings if children are to develop the sustained, mature dramatic play that con- tributes significantly to their self-regulation and other cognitive, linguistic, social, and emotional benefits. . . . Rather than detracting from academic learning, play appears to support the abilities that underlie such learning and thus to promote school success. (15) • A wonderful cycle of learning is driven by the pleasure in play. A child is curious; she explores and discovers. The discovery brings pleasure; the pleasure leads to repetition and practice. Practice brings mastery; mas- tery brings the pleasure and confidence to once again act on curiosity. All learning—emotional, social, motor, and cognitive—is accelerated and facilitated by repetition fueled by the pleasure of play. (Perry, Hogan, and Marlin 2000, in Copple and Bredekamp 2009, 50) Throughout this book, these statements and others are used to determine the best strategies for guiding children to higher-level play experiences. As teachers become more familiar with these principles, they will be able to com- municate clearly to others about the importance of play, explaining rather than defending the teaching strategies and curricular approaches that they know are best for young children. They will be able to justify inclusion of play in their curriculum rather than repeatedly explain to parents, community members, and administrators that “It’s more than ‘just play.’ ”