How Can We Create A Culture of Thinkers and Doers?
Do you remember a time when your imagination ran wild, when you would swing so high you thought you could fly with the birds, when you dreamed of living in the trees you climbed, or when you ran through the puddles barefooted and had mud splattered all over you?
As an intergenerational learning community, IELC engages in best practices to provide a developmentally appropriate curriculum. We believe that children learn best through hands-on experiences in a learner-initiated environment, as opposed to a primarily teacher-directed setting. Research shows that play, at any age, makes us smarter and more adaptable and enables us to be better problem solvers. Therefore, we believe that children learn best through play!
Learning through play may lead some people to think that we have a non-academic program, because they don’t see traditional school activities such as rote learning or worksheets. Nothing we do in IELC is by accident. We engage in purposeful play that enhances the children’s skills and experiences. In fact, you will see academics such as letter recognition, numeracy and other math skills, and science emerge through a variety of creative activities and explorations.
According to a senior play historian from the Strong National Museum of Play (Eberle, 2016), there are six essential elements for play:
- anticipation in order to develop curiosity and the exploration of risk
- surprise in order to feel the unexpected or offer a shift in perspective
- pleasure for the whole body experience
- understanding in order to explore new possibilities
- strength in order for mastery to be achieved and survival of risk
- poise to maintain a sense of balance and place
These elements definitely arise throughout our daily interactions at IELC. We believe that playing with a purpose sets the foundation for a vibrant culture of thinkers and doers!
“Play is really the work of childhood.” -Fred Rogers