[Solution]Play as Foundation for All Learning Domains

TITLE: Marble Magic Introduction: Play as Foundation for All Learning Domains across multiple age groups. The Assignment: Summarize the attached article, in your own words, by answering…

TITLE: Marble Magic
Introduction: Play as Foundation for All Learning Domains across multiple age groups.
The Assignment:
Summarize the attached article, in your own words, by answering the three questions listed below. Each question should have an answer that has at least 5- 7 sentences. Please make sure you read the statement on Plagiarism. Also, do not copy and paste the article – that is plagiarism.
1.    What is the main focus of the article?
2.    What are three strategies that are discussed in the article?
3.    How will you implement the strategies/ideas (from the article) when working with children?
Grading Criteria
20 points – Three paragraphs are included, each paragraph has a minimum of seven sentences
20 points – First paragraph summarizes the main focus of the article
30 points – Second paragraph summarizes three strategies from the article
20 points – Third paragraph gives specific strategies/ideas you will use when working with young children.
10 points – correct grammar and spelling are used.
Summarize this article from NAEYC Young Children, March 2017, Marble Magic by Debbie Piescor

Preschool Through Grade 3
Marble Magic
Play as the Foundation for All Learning Domains Across Multiple Age Groups
Debbie Piescor
Young children learn best when they are given large blocks of time to actively invent and follow through on a variety of meaningful play scenarios. Whether children are building with blocks, acting as chefs or mayors in dramatic play, engaging with creative arts materials, or creating miniature worlds with mud in the backyard after a recent rainfall, they are growing in all aspects of development.
As teacher researchers at A Child’s Place School in Lincroft, New Jersey, my colleagues and I strive to create the highest quality learning environment for our 78 students, all of whom are 3 to 7 years old. Our ongoing investigations consistently demonstrate that, through consistent play with others, even the youngest children will reach beyond what’s typically expected for their ages, both behaviorally and cognitively (Vygotsky 1978). Self-initiated, teacher-supported play enables children to explore, experiment, and authentically increase development in literacy, math, science, and creative thinking. Until children engage in a plethora of personal, meaningful play experiences to build background knowledge, imagination, and rational thought, highly structured formal education is developmentally inappropriate (Edwards, Gandini, & Forman 1998; Elkind 2007).
The benefits of play to social, emotional, physical, creative, and cognitive growth are widely accepted, understood, and appreciated by parents, teachers, and administrators of preschool programs (Nell, Drew, & Bush 2013). Once children enter the early primary grades, however, the pressures of a hurried
curriculum, standardized testing, and accountability can challenge even the strongest advocates of play to stand firm regarding play’s social and academic value. As a result, in kindergarten through third grade, play is frequently excluded from the curriculum to make room for structured academic experiences. The value of engaging in spontaneous, self-initiated play reaches far beyond academics. It enables children to boost their creativity and helps them find their place in the world, especially within the smaller community of their classroom and school (Smith 2009).
Young Children
March 2017
Teachers as researchers
One of the many special things about A Child’s Place School is that teachers and administrators collaboratively engage in action research to better understand and serve students. In this article, I discuss a study my colleagues and I conducted with children from three different classes and across multiple ages, closely observing them engage with a variety of materials—from traditional materials like marbles to construction materials like PVC pipes. The exploration took place in the Big Room, a large community space in the school and the hub of activity for the teachers and children from all three programs: the Nursery Class (ages 3 to 5), the All Day Room (ages 4 to 5), and the Primary Class (ages 5 to 7). In addition to serving as a common area for informal encounters among children from multiple age groups, the Big Room offers all members of the community varied opportunities to make connections and see relationships between concepts, ideas, and activities during the intentional and thoughtfully planned learning experiences provided by the teaching staff.
Authentic learning through play

began our study as a large group of 4- to 7-year- olds were collaborating in the Big Room to build a giant marble run with baseboard molding,PVC pipes and elbows, and brackets. The construction of marble runs, which began as play in a Primary Class, gained complexity once the materials were presented in a common space. The older children naturally stepped into leadership roles as they shared their work and knowledge with their younger peers. Throughout the year, all of the children increased their knowledge of inclines, symmetry, balance, speed, and gravitational pull.
group of 3- and 4-year-olds view the marble run built by the older children as a large toy. They drop marbles at the top of the incline and chase them to the end of the run. As they repeat

Throughout the year, all of the children increased their knowledge of inclines, symmetry, balance, speed, and gravitational pull.
this activity many times, they gain insights. They discover that the size of the marble directly correlates with its success in traveling the entire marble run. If the marble is too small, it will not make it up the first incline. If it is too large, it will fly off the track as it travels around the curve. “You need to use the medium ones, or it won’t work,” says 3-year-old Juan. This statement demonstrates to the teachers that Juan understands the comparative terms used by the older children to describe the marbles’ sizes.

deepen this knowledge, I ask Juan, “How do you know that the small or large ones won’t work?” He replies, “Because when I tried them, they didn’t work. Only this kind [showing me a marble] can work.” To support him in deepening his thinking, I ask, “Why do you think the others don’t work?” “The little
nes stop and the big ones fall off,” answers Juan.

Reflecting on this interaction, my colleagues and I added several marbles of the same size but different weights to the Big Room. Once Juan had time to explore and experiment with them, I challenged his thinking by asking him to use words to explain what he thought was happening. Juan shared his theory, this time talking about weight rather than size: “If it’s too light, it won’t go far. The heavy ones go too fast and fall off when they go around.” He gestures to a sharp curve in the track.
Throughout their work, the children in this multiage group negotiated, compromised, and problem solved, with little teacher intervention needed. When an older child told a 4-year-old that she could not work on the marble run, another 4-year-old said in an assertive voice, “You can’t say you can’t play!” This was effective, and the Primary Class children accepted their younger peers into their play. Furthermore, when the older children expressed rules and limitations about how the 4-year-olds could use the materials, the younger children effectively articulated the unfairness of what was being said. By being silent and almost invisible observers, all of us serving as researchers enabled the children to solve most conflicts on their own.
March 2017
Young Children

Child-initiated, teacher-supported inquiries emerge from play

one corner of the room, 5-year-old Mark took a break from the collaborative efforts of the construction group to pursue his own exploration of some other materials. After placing several small marbles in a hollow bicycle tire, Mark rolled the tire from one side of the room to another. When the tire lost momentum and wobbled to a stop on the floor, Mark dove onto his stomach and watched the marbles continue to roll around the inside of the tire, slowly coming to a stop. On his third trial, Mark began counting the number of times the marbles made a full rotation around the tire. Seeing a puzzled look on his face, I intervened, starting with determining what he had gained so far through this self-directed experiment.
Piescor: I’ve been watching you work for quite a while. What are you trying to do?

Mark: Make the marbles move around the tire more times.
Ms. Piescor: What have you learned so far?
Mark: That I have to roll the tire very, very fast.
Ms. Piescor: What happens if it moves slowly?
Mark: The marbles will just fall out of the tire, or they won’t go around too many times.
Ms. Piescor: What are you using as a starting and ending point when counting?
Mark: The words on the tire.
Though Mark had been using the tire’s brand name as the reference point for a full rotation, he seemed unsure of the exact starting point because the name appeared twice on the tire. To eliminate the confusion, I suggested that he might want to draw a single line with white chalk to use as the starting and ending point. He agreed, and his counting became much more efficient and accurate. I then recommended that Mark keep track of the number of times the cluster of marbles circled the tire during each trial so that he could identify the greatest number of rotations achieved. He eagerly agreed and began documenting the data from his trials, recording the number of rotations the marbles made for each event. At the end, Mark identified the trials that had the most and the fewest number of rotations and the number of rotations that occurred most often.
Six-year-old Antonia, who had been listening to our conversation, contributed her theories about what was happening.
Antonia: It’s gravity. The faster the tire goes, the stronger gravity is.
Ms. Piescor: How does gravity help?
Antonia: It keeps the marbles in and lets them keep moving after the tire stops.
Mark: And the faster you roll the tire, the more times the marbles go around.
Antonia: It’s gravity and speed.
Young Children March 2017
Identifying knowledge and opportunities for learning that emerge from play
When our team of teachers met to interpret the learning experiences that had emerged from Mark and Antonia’s tire and marbles exploration, our first task was to identify the knowledge and understanding the two children had beforehand. For us, this is the most important phase when we conduct studies because it enables us to bring in other aspects of the curriculum to support growth in various areas. From the beginning of this self-initiated learning experience, we observed Mark form and test predictions through experiments he designed himself.
Through this careful observation, we saw that the children were ready for a new concept: centrifugal force.
Antonia demonstrated familiarity with vocabulary associated with physics, using words such as gravity and speed to describe the phenomenon she observed. Using notes, photographs, and transcripts of conversations recorded through our observations, the team of teachers met to plan experiences to extend the
children’s knowledge and thinking. We hoped to help them see a relationship between their explorations with the tire and the marble runs. As Mark and Antonia shared their work with the group, the teachers recorded the conversation with the children.
Ms. Piescor: Mark, what was the greatest number of times that the marbles traveled around the tire?
Mark: Seven.
Ms. Piescor: What caused it to go around that many times?
Mark: Because that was the fastest I rolled the tire.
Kaylee: When the tire goes really, really fast, the marbles stick to the walls. If it slows down, they just fall out. That’s gravity.
Tim: It’s like when you drop a marble down the marble track. Let me draw it. [Tim headed to the experience chart in the front of the room, picked up a marker, and began drawing.] If the ramp is too low, like this, the marble might not make it all the way around.
Elijah: But if it’s too high, the marble will just drop. [Elijah approached the chart and worked alongside Tim to help organize his thoughts while he used drawings to help convince his peers that his theories were logical.]
Tim: It can’t be high like Elijah’s ramp or low like mine. It has to be right in between the two sizes.
Lyn: That’s because gravity lets go when the ramp is too high. If it’s too low, then it can’t have enough speed to go all the way around or up the next hill.
As a team, we brainstormed how to introduce the concept. Deciding that our main focus would be the children’s experiences with the curve in the marble run and the tire, we also thought of an everyday example—a washing machine’s spin cycle—to reinforce the concept as needed.
Fostering interdisciplinary growth through play
Although I’ve focused primarily on the science learning children engaged in through the long-term investigation into marble runs, this experience also provided many opportunities for pretend play, extended social interaction, language growth, and applied mathematics. For example, dramatic play scenarios that required lots of negotiation emerged and evolved as different aspects of the investigation were deemed complete. The children gave the marbles human attributes and each marble was named; remarkably, all names were unanimously agreed upon by the members of this large but consistent group. During construction of the marble runs, the children built several secret storage units, which they said were “to protect” the marbles. The children also negotiated to create various rules in relation to the use of “special” marbles, and they were widely accepted by all, including those who were not directly involved in the play.
In addition to furthering the children’s social, language, and scientific development, the teachers were able to bring into this investigation many other aspects of the curriculum in meaningful, authentic ways.
There were opportunities for literacy development as children aspired to effectively communicate (through speaking, listening, writing, and reading) their ideas, experiences, inquiries, and theories. Mathematical and spatial thinking were constant, with challenges such as counting and documenting the highest and lowest points of inclines and measuring the lengths, widths, and perimeters of various marble runs. Children also experienced the intersection of art, science, and engineering when clay was provided as a material for sculpting a marble run.
In addition to fostering multifaceted growth for the children, this investigation was a rich learning experience for our whole school community. As teacher researchers, my colleagues and I learned a great deal about cultivating academic development along with social and emotional development. Our commitment to observing and recordkeeping gave us a meaningful pool of data to reflect on—and it also gave us a wealth of information to share with parents. By documenting specific examples of the value that play-based activities contribute to children’s learning and growth across developmental domains, we were able to provide evidence of the importance of play to families, other professionals, and interested members of the community.
Sharing outcomes in social, emotional, physical, and academic development makes the process of learning visible, including both the struggles and successes. Parents are able to see how understanding and knowledge develop through ongoing play experiences. Encouraged to interpret children’s questions, knowledge, and ideas and to suggest new directions for learning, families are empowered to become actively engaged in their children’s learning.
When experiences like our marble investigation are explained in weekly newsletters, conferences, parentteacher discussion groups, and classroom exhibits, play is perceived as a right, not a luxury, for all children. As our experience demonstrates, developmentally appropriate practices, with play at the center of the curriculum, increase endurance and persistence for learning as well as support deeper and stronger cognitive functioning (Elkind 2007).
This article demonstrates how a single play idea—the construction of marble runs—can branch off into a rich variety of learning experiences with thoughtful guidance from teachers. Close observation, genuine listening, documentation, and communication of learning to both the school and outside communities enables us, teachers and parents alike, to become interpreters of knowledge and understanding. Our roles help identify us as true researchers in pursuit of understanding how children learn best and enable us to differentiate learning for each individual child and deepen thinking among groups of children as a whole.
Young Children
March 2017
About the author
Edwards, C., L. Gandini, & G. Forman, eds. 1998. The Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Approach- Advanced Reflections, 2nd ed. Westport, CT: Ablex.
Elkind, D. 2007. The Power of Play: How Spontaneous, Imaginative Activities Lead to Happier, Healthier Children. Boston, MA: Da Capo Lifelong.
Nell, M.L., W.F. Drew, & D.E. Bush. 2013. From Play to Practice: Connecting Teachers’ Play to Children’s Learning. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Smith, N.A. 2009. The Message ofFroebel and Other Essays. Charleston, SC: BiblioLife.
Vygotsky, L.S. 1978. Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Ed. and trans. M. Cole, V. John- Steiner, S. Scribner, & E. Souberman. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Debbie Piescor, BA, is a master teacher for primary age children at A Child’s Place School in Lincroft, New Jersey. She is the curriculum specialist, guiding the curriculum and individual goals for each child in all classrooms. Debbie has presented on best practices for children at several state and national conferences, dpiescor@achildsplaceschool.com
Photographs: courtesy of the author
Copyright © 2017 by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. See Permissions and Reprints online at www.NAEYC.org/yc/permissions.
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Educators and researchers, Young Children welcomes articles that describe real-life examples of developmentally appropriate practice, are grounded in the current knowledge base, and provide inspiring—yet practical—ideas for teachers.
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March 2018
May 2018
July 2018
Joyful Learning in Kindergarten
Creativity Throughout the Day
Embracing Anti-Bias
May 1,2017
August 1, 2017
n . uA Natural Choice: September 2018 , .
Learning Outdoors
November 1, 2017
November 2018 Building the Profession December 1, 2017
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March 2017 Young Children

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