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A Mandate for Playful Learning in PreschoolPresenting the Evidence$
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Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Laura E, Berk, and Dorothy Singer

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195382716

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195382716.001.0001

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Two. The Evidence for Playful Learning in Preschool

Two. The Evidence for Playful Learning in Preschool

(p.17) Two. The Evidence for Playful Learning in Preschool
A Mandate for Playful Learning in Preschool

Kathy Hirsh-Pasek

Roberta Michnick Golinkoff

Laura E. Berk

Dorothy G. Singer

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents evidence that play and playful learning enhance academic, social, and emotional outcomes in preschool. Compared to drill-and-practice, playful learning engages and motivates children in ways that enhance development and lifelong learning. After defining play and playful learning, this chapter examines assumptions about how children learn and argues that the whole-child approach is no longer used in preschool education. The weight of the evidence, from random assignment to correlational to interventional studies, suggests that both free play and playful learning create optimal environments for academic achievement. In addition, children in developmentally appropriate classrooms often show less anxiety and stronger social skills. This chapter issues a call for developmentally appropriate preschool pedagogy and contends that playful learning combines the best of teacher-guided and developmentally appropriate pedagogy.

Keywords:   preschool education, children, play, whole-child approach, pedagogy, academic achievement, social skills, development

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