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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET • finding props for the play. • solving conflicts. • joining play. • sustaining play. At times teachers use the free-choice time as an opportunity to take a break, finish a project, or prepare. It is easy to disengage with the children when they are hap- pily playing. But your role as a teacher continues even then. Following are some reasons teachers don’t interact with children during play: Adults don’t know what to do. Adults don’t understand how play skills develop and don’t know what to do to encourage more and deeper play. Adults believe that play is not as valuable as other activities. Adults see play as something to fill time for children and don’t see the learning that takes place. Adults emphasize early literacy and math separately from play. Adults don’t see how to integrate literacy and math into play. They think math and literacy need to be taught with direct, adult-led activities. Adults believe children will play naturally and don’t need adult help. Adults may remember play as older children or in settings outside of a classroom. Adults use the time children are playing to do other chores. Adults will com- plete tasks such as taking attendance, preparing for groups, preparing for snack, and cleaning up rather than engaging with children during play. Adults worry they will interfere with and interrupt children’s play, perhaps harming them. Adults have absorbed the traditional view of play that adults should not be part of play experience and that if they are, they could hamper the children’s participation. It is true that children don’t need adults to be with them all the time while they play and sometimes adults can even get in the way. However, you provide valuable support to children who are struggling to learn play skills. They need you to observe carefully during play, identify where their struggles and strengths are, and offer strategies to help them improve their play skills. This book is designed to help you give that support. 6 | Introduction COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL