The Absorbent Mind, p. 25.
Today I am going to suggest something that may seem counter to Montessori philosophy. I am going to suggest that we need more play. But wait … didn't Dr. Montessori call play “work”? That’s right. She referred to play as the work of early childhood. The term work implies that the activity is worthy and important, while the term play is often thought of as frivolous and unproductive. As Mr. Fred Rogers reminds us, “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” (Miller, 2013) By referring to play as work, Dr. Montessori was stressing the importance of play in the lives of children.
Work and Play in the Montessori Environment
The separation of work and play is growing ever more present in conventional education. While in school, children are expected to work, relegating play to an extracurricular activity. Yet many educational experts recognize and understand the vital role play has in learning. However, in this day of high stakes testing, we have become so focused on curricular content that we have lost sight of play’s crucial role in child development.
We know from studying Maria Montessori’s philosophy and methods that how you learn is often more important than what you learn.
In the next few blogs, we will explore the concept of playful learning in the context of Maria Montessori’s research as well as how play affects social, emotional, and academic success.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Friday, January 16, 2015.