Replacing didactic instruction with play is not an
easy transition for teachers trained in traditional
approaches and who feel comfortable teaching in
this way. Teachers, students, and parents will require
time and support, but the pay-off is well worth the
effort. Students will thrive at school instead of merely
surviving; parents will be relieved of the stress of
trying to get children to do homework and put forth
their best effort at school; teachers will find a renewed
joy and enthusiasm for their profession.
There are several ways for teachers to take the first
step to familiarize themselves with play-based
• Visit one or more classrooms to view a play-
based program, and allot time for questions and
• Choose a book or article that focuses on play or
inquiry as a focus for a group discussion, and ask
participants to commit to try some of the ideas in
their classrooms.
• Record the questions that staff have about play,
and use these as a basis for discussion, research,
reflection and action.
• Jump in with both feet. Change the schedule and
classroom organization to accommodate play-
based learning. It is important to document the
experience from the start to evaluate the changes
that occur.
• Engage the children in a discussion about play.
Focus the discussion on what they believe play
means, what they imagine can happen during
play, what is needed for play-based inquiry in
the classroom, and why it is important to their
• Seek out colleagues, administrators, parents, or
consultants who are interested in a play-based
program to act as ‘sounding’ boards for new ideas.