|About the Book|
Children and Teachers Learn From Play
How can teachers deepen their understanding of the importance of play? How can they develop the ability to skillfully and intentionally guide children’s learning through play? When teachers engage in creative, open-ended play experiences, they learn firsthand the power of play. They also become more knowledgeable about the purposeful use of materials and intentional teaching strategies they can use to help children engage in open-ended play.
From Play to Practice describes how and why play is important. The play workshop experiences for educators that are outlined in the book help teachers understand and promote play-based learning as part of developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs. Journal reflections of play participants, along with photos from play workshops, illustrate the power of play to change professional and personal lives.
As described by Elizabeth Jones in the foreword, “This book offers a challenge to rediscover play with stuff, and to build one’s understanding of children’s learning through reflection on one’s own play experience.”
|About the Authors|
Marcia L. Nell, PhD, is an assistant professor at Millersville University in Millersville, Pennsylvania, where she teaches graduate and undergraduate early childhood education courses and supervises student teachers. Marcia taught in public schools for 25 years. Her research interests include play and creativity across the life cycle, with an emphasis on the benefits of using self-active play with older adults with and without Alzheimer’s disease. She also conducts research on the benefits of the Professional Development School model for teacher training, increasing parent involvement in education, and other aspects of teacher preparation programs.
Marcia serves as the Director of Research and Professional Development for the Institute for Self Active Education. She conducts Hands, Heart, and Mind® play workshops and symposiums and collects data for play research related to the workshops. Marcia serves as the chair for the Research Committee of the Play, Policy, and Practice Interest Forum. She is married and has four children and two grandsons.
Walter F. Drew, EdD, was born and raised in New York City. He earned a bachelor of arts in education from the University of Florida and a doctorate in elementary education from the University of Southern Mississippi. He serves as a facilitator with the NAEYC Play, Policy, and Practice Interest Forum. He is also the creator of Dr. Drew’s Discovery Blocks.
Walter taught at an elementary school in Broward County, Florida, and later served as director of the African Primary Science Program at Njala University in Sierra Leone, West Africa.
Together with his wife, Kitty, Walter founded the Institute for Self Active Education in Boston. Since 1975 he has pioneered the development of reusable resource centers as innovative green partnerships with local business and industry. He engages teachers and parents in investigating play and developing play leadership skills through professional development workshops, play symposiums, and discovery retreats.
Walter believes that the ability to play and to remain playful promotes harmony and mental well-being at any age; therefore, it is a valuable resource for nurturing a healthier and more productive society. Walter and his wife have seven children and four grandchildren.
Deborah E. Bush is a professional writer and editor who has been on the board of the Institute for Self Active Education since 2004. She is an advocate for fostering self-active play, especially for children, who have so much to gain from it.
"In the current discourse about play and early education, one factor is often overlooked—teachers’ perceptions of play. Teachers who are in touch with the power of play are more likely to use play-based teaching strategies than those who are not. This book raises teachers’ awareness of how play promotes all aspects of children’s development."
— James Christie, Professor, Social and Family Dynamics,
Arizona State University
"This book is a concise and articulate presentation of play’s impact on learning and provides a guide to improving teaching practices and children’s experience. The combination of theory and application to both children and adults is clearly unique in the field."
—K. Craig Jones, Associate Professor, Early Childhood Education, University of West Florida
"Now more than ever, children need help connecting deeply to learning through play. From Play to Practice is exactly the book teachers need to help make this happen."
—Diane E. Levin, Professor, Early Childhood Education
"When teachers play, they learn to see the materials and their possibilities for learning through the eyes of a child. This book illustrates clearly that play is part of planning developmentally appropriate curriculum."
—Susan Wood, Executive Director, The Children’s Center
California Institute of Technology
"While many consider play a frivolous activity in which children should occasionally engage, this book illustrates the reflection, research, practices, and transformation surrounding the topic. Marcia Nell and Walter Drew’s discussion convinces us that play—like learning—is a lifelong pursuit."
—Luis Hernandez, Early Childhood Specialist/TTAS
Western Kentucky University