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All About Play

Play is Joyful

Open-ended, Purposeless, and Fun

In true play, a lot is happening all at once — and it's joyful.  "Play is when children are using something they've learned, to try it out and see how it works, to use it in new ways — it's enjoying the satisfaction of problem solving on their own," says Diane Levin, a professor of education at Wheelock College in Boston.

Many Forms of Play

Scientists and child advocates agree that there are many forms of play, and usually, “a lot is happening all at once,” says Dr. Stuart Brown at the National Institute of Play. There is “attunement play,” the sort of interaction where a mother and infant might gaze at each other and babble back and forth. There is “object play,” where a person might manipulate a toy such as a set of marbles; “rough and tumble play” and “imaginative play.” “Free play” is often described as kids playing on their own, without any adult supervision. “Guided play” is when a child or other player takes the lead, but a mentor is around to facilitate the play. Play is occurring when children regulate their behavior voluntarily.

How a Play-based Preschool Might Look


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