Celebrating Students Transfer of Skills from Play to Academics and vice versa

A group of teachers were sharing the other day all of the creative learning that is taking place during free-choice play centers in Kindergarten. The one aspect that was shared multiple times that stuck with me was that many students are transferring the skills from free-choice play centers, especially social skills, into their direct academic learning time.
For example, a student was building animals following a pattern with linking cubes in math centers and then in play centers, he and his friends built the castle from Frozen and polar bears from LEgos.
Other teachers noted that they have been working on sharing and as well as using polite words and asking before taking something from a friend during free-choice play centers. Teachers are noticing students using those same skills during literacy and math centers- something that was not noticed prior to the implementation of free-choice centers in Kindergarten.
Students are also starting to include a lot more writing in authentic ways in the free-choice centers such as writing valentine cards, grocery lists, and signs for structures in block play such as labeling the “museum” rooms or the Olympic events and making directional signs.
In what ways do your students transfer skills from free-choice centers to direct academic instuction?

Author: DHonegger

Debra S. Honegger has worked in multiple areas of education- both general education and special education- as teacher, consultant, administrator and instructional coach- with ages from birth through adult. However, no matter where she is or what her title, she holds a firm belief in meeting the needs of each individual child while coming together as a community of learners.

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