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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET e Chapter 1 H Content in this chapter connects with chapter 1 in Play: The Pathway from Theory to Practice. Learning from Play Children eagerly seek out play experiences. They are excited about new toys and ask repeatedly to play certain games. They seek out friends to play house, doctor, fire department, or shopping. When adults develop and write standards that focus on the many developmental gains children make in their earliest years, or when they are teaching children with attention to the standards, they may minimize or miss the powerful learning that happens in the hearts and minds of children as they play. Perhaps you have heard adults state with some amusement, “Oh, they are just playing.” This statement trivializes children’s experiences and dismisses how play inspires, challenges, and changes children. Play is key to young children’s development and is the one of the most influential ways they learn. When I was in preschool, it was fun when it was recess and I was almost done with monkey bars—when I was almost able to do them all without falling. —Johann, age 6 Skills Children Learn through Play When adults first think of what children are learning in play, they think of social skills or learning to share. Children acquire these skills in play, and they learn so much more. Here are some additional ways in which play benefits children: • Children learn how to speak and listen. • Children learn how to make and keep friends. • Children learn how to imagine. • Children learn how to plan ahead. • Children learn how to tell a story. • Children learn how to imagine with objects and props. • Children learn how to take turns. • Children learn how to join in. • Children learn how to use literacy and math in the real world. 10 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL