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Contributing Editor: Karen Poplawski, Director of Programs at CRS

Skipping rocks, catching lightning bugs, riding bikes, playing in the sandbox, shooting hoops, and soaring high into the sky on a swing. These phrases elicit a fondness in many of us as they con­jure pleasant memories of carefree play, the kind of play which research overwhelmingly demonstrates is important for our social, emotional, and cognitive growth and well-being. Would these same phrases elicit the same response from today’s youth? How are we valuing the time-honored art of play and gifting it to our students and ourselves? In this issue we will explore the importance of play, how the game of play is changing in today’s world, and ways we can keep play alive.

Articles in this Issue:

Fun is Essential! Incorporating Play into Today’s Classroom

Educators and educational leaders make critical decisions every day about the allocation of the most valuable resource in a student’s education—their time at school. Modern school schedules are designed to optimize learning time for every child, sculpting out minutes for academic subjects while minimizing “wasted” time on nonacademic tasks. As a result, many students have…

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3 Ways to Prioritize Play During the School Day

Incorporate play throughout the day at all levelsPlay can be used at any time throughout the day to support students in the development of important social and emotional skills. The Responsive Classroom approach uses structured activities to incorporate play at various levels throughout the school day:• Elementary school teachers use Morning Meeting activities and energizers…

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Play in the Digital Age

Digital technology has had a profound effect on every part of our lives—including how children experience play. In fact, play for today’s students may look nothing like it did even a few decades ago. One of the biggest differences is that kids today are less active (Patel, 2017). This lack of exercise can be attributed…

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Play at Every Age: Structuring Play for Social and Academic Benefit

Elementary and middle school educators who are dedicated to increasing play in learning look for opportunities to incorporate structures that engender play throughout the school day. While many decisions affect how educators structure play, students’ developmental levels are a key factor. There are some commonalities in play among all age groups, but there are also…

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Play: It Isn’t Just for Kids

Oftentimes play is viewed as a child’s endeavor. For adults, play is perceived as unproductive or labeled a guilty pleasure. Part of this perception is a natural consequence of added responsibilities. As we grow up our focus shifts to having a job, paying bills, taking care of family or other loved ones, and creating a…

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