ERIC Number: ED443089
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-May
Creating Connections, Building Constructions: Language, Literacy, and Play in Early Childhood.
In these politically charged times of early literacy initiatives, position statements, and education reform, talk about play and literacy learning seems rather awkward, if not even a bit silly. As the realities of early literacy education set in, teachers, legislators, and parents grow ever more critical of what young children are doing as developing writers and readers, and how they are doing it. After all, children need to develop phonemic awareness, learn letter names, practice recognizing words, and participate actively in storybook reading to acquire basic literacy concepts. These are intensely instructive activities best led by adults who impart essential literacy knowledge and skills that children must learn. Certainly this is a serious business, and the time and energy it demands can overwhelm thoughts of play. But the worry is that the important role of play in the process of learning to read and write might be misunderstood, if not overlooked altogether. This paper shares this worry, and, in attempting to assuage it, discusses some fundamental connections between literacy and play, the mental constructions they support, and how both might be strengthened in everyday literacy teaching and learning in early childhood classrooms, using an art studio play setting as a research lesson. Contains 3 figures and 19 references; cites 10 children's books. Appended is an overview of the thematic unit. Also attached is a discussion forum. (Author/NKA)
Descriptors: Art Activities, Classroom Environment, Cognitive Development, Early Childhood Education, Emergent Literacy, Play, Thematic Approach, Young Children
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: International Reading Association, Newark, DE.
Note: With Oula Majzoub Hanbali.