“When children are encouraged to play at school and at home, play becomes a regular part of their lives, and their play skills increase dramatically. To provide that consistent encouragement, teachers may need to offer families play suggestions in regular newsletters or through a classroom website or social-media page.”
Dr. Vanover reiterates the importance of communication with families to help them understand why adding more play to their days is the most important way to prepare their children for school.
“The key idea to express to families is that children can prepare for school at home without completing worksheets. Families should focus on having interactive conversations with children and, at times, on helping children make their creativity tangible.”
A mother can have a back-and-forth conversation with her child in the car about why the child enjoys living in a place with cold winters and what things the child enjoys that happen in cold weather.
A father can ask his child to count the geese flying over their car while it sits at a stop sign.
A grandmother can help her granddaughter design a pillow fort in the living room and then help the granddaughter discover why the right side of the fort keeps falling down and how to fix it.
“All of these interactions address school-readiness skills, and children are more likely to participate in a conversation or playtime experience than they are to sit down at a table and do a worksheet after a long day of playing and learning at school.”
Ashleigh Craven has a decade and a half of diverse category experience from agency communications to athletic apparel to automotive to education, developing and executing communication strategies in both traditional and social media. She has supported national product launches and corporate events for the likes of Soffe, Buick, Chevrolet, Wake Forest University , Kaplan, and others. She has an BA from the University of Michigan in English and Communication Studies and an MA from Wake Forest University, where she focused her studies on argumentation and presidential rhetoric and speechwriting. She served as director of marketing for Gryphon House from 2017- 2020.