As our country has increasingly embraced the academic orientation of the educational reform movement, many children no longer have the opportunity for imaginative play, particularly after they enter kindergarten. They therefore lack the foundational skills that are linked to play: memory, emotional self-regulation, oral language and literacy, perspective-taking, and social competence. It is these so-called “soft skills” that enable children to succeed in elementary school and beyond.
~ Laurie Levy in her blog Still Advocating
There is a reason that children love to play. It is a natural and developmental way of learning. Laurie Levy, founder of an innovative preschool in Chicago, writes in her article Play Needs to Follow Kids to Kindergarten, about the essential skills gained through imaginative play.
Play is a renewing and refreshing part of the day for students of all ages. The tinkering, social negotiating, roll-play and enjoyment - and the choices involved in deciding what to play and with whom - are as important as the hour for math, music or reading. Thank goodness at Parker we have the freedom and philosophy to give importance to play beyond preschool and to hold it inviolate in a fully scheduled school day.