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Thread: Imaginative Play

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    Default Imaginative Play

    Today, I had my first parent-teacher conference. No big deal, because we talk at pick-up every day, and tend to deal with issues as they come up. Something the teacher said is bothering me though, and I'm wondering what you think. She said something about how imaginative play is discouraged in the classroom, because the children are expected to interact with their work in an intended manner, and not give in to imagination. For instance, they're doing beginning sounds, the basket for it contains things like a little baby, a banana, a bottle, etc. She said that they discourage, say for instance, the kids deciding to play by feeding the baby a banana, or drinking out of a bottle, instead of recognizing that these are all objects with the same beginning sounds.

    I can see her point of view, and I can see how this is part of the Montessori philosphy. I am a big fan of imaginative play, and Mira gets plenty of it at home, so I shouldn't let this bother me, right?

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    That is very weird that they discourage it. I guess since she get imaginary play at home it can make up for it at school. Are all schools like that?

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    Sorry but I fail to see how their intention for the basket of objects and discouraging inaginative play fits into the children having "liberty to choose and act freely within an environment".....

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    It would bother me. I think playing like that is much more important for young children than learning letter sounds.

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    At that age I think imaginative play is far more beneficial than learning anything about sounds or the alphabet.

    I also plan to home school and teach a lot though reading which requires imagination and hands on activities.
    Last edited by JJorn; 01-28-2013 at 12:54 PM.
    Jessica (33) and Ryan (33). Madelyn born August 5, 2009; Malachi born December 23, 2010 and Nathaniel born July 19, 2013. Lost a loved baby 02/29/12, 05/14/12 and 07/05/12 all due a serious allergic reaction to fabric softener.
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    Yeah. When you mentioned it I wondered if it were a Montessori school. There aren't many things that I don't love about their philosophy, but that's one. The reasoning is apparently that since children are just learning about the world at that age (and a Montessori classroom is all about practical life skills), they want the kids to be focusing on what is "real." They prefer to encourage the imaginative stuff at the early elementary level, when kids have a good grounding in reality. I don't really get it, either, but yes, if she's doing imaginative play at home I think that's fine. And usually, they don't discourage it in free play or recess at school either, just while doing works.

    FWIW, my older dd went to Montessori until 5th grade and she still has an extremely active sense of imagination. It didn't do her any damage. I think she actually believes she's a unicorn in another dimension.
    -- mom to DD1 1/98 and DD2 10/09


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    Well, it does sound montessori-ish to me. I don't personally agree with discouraging imaginative play but I tend to look at things like this in terms of the pros & the cons. You seem like you like her school a lot (in other posts) and if you feel like it's not hindering her imaginative play overall, then I would try not to get too worked up. If you feel like it is a really big negative for you then I would factor that into decisions about the school.
    My 3 yo cuties!

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    That would bother me, too. I don't follow that philosophy though so take my opinion with a grain of salt. I don't think I could leave my child with adults who discourage imagination. Children grow up too quickly as it is.

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    I would not like that at all. To me imaginative play comes before alphabet at any age before 5. That what research says too. But what days and hours does she go there? If is a couple times a week or every day for a couple of hours, then I would accept it grudgingly but without making any problems out of it. Also, is it during a particular time? Our school had plenty of free and imaginative play but they had a short alloted time for "work" and then circle time where imaginative play was not ok. I thought it was understandable
    KEVIN (6) & MATTHEW (4)

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    Quote Originally Posted by tanyachap View Post
    I would not like that at all. To me imaginative play comes before alphabet at any age before 5. That what research says too. But what days and hours does she go there? If is a couple times a week or every day for a couple of hours, then I would accept it grudgingly but without making any problems out of it. Also, is it during a particular time? Our school had plenty of free and imaginative play but they had a short alloted time for "work" and then circle time where imaginative play was not ok. I thought it was understandable

    I agree.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tanyachap View Post
    I would not like that at all. To me imaginative play comes before alphabet at any age before 5. That what research says too. But what days and hours does she go there? If is a couple times a week or every day for a couple of hours, then I would accept it grudgingly but without making any problems out of it. Also, is it during a particular time? Our school had plenty of free and imaginative play but they had a short alloted time for "work" and then circle time where imaginative play was not ok. I thought it was understandable
    She's in school, 5 days a week, from 9 - 3. The schedule is work time, recess, circle time, lunch, nap. I know that kids are allowed to stand or wander during circle time, but not be disruptive, and they cannot take out work. The whole 'They must interact with their work appropriately, in the manner intended' thing comes during the work time, I'm guessing 45 minutes or so, 4 days a week (the 5th day is PE, music, Spanish and recess, so not a lot of work).

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    Quote Originally Posted by impatient View Post
    It would bother me. I think playing like that is much more important for young children than learning letter sounds.
    completely agree.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Suja View Post
    She's in school, 5 days a week, from 9 - 3. The schedule is work time, recess, circle time, lunch, nap. I know that kids are allowed to stand or wander during circle time, but not be disruptive, and they cannot take out work. The whole 'They must interact with their work appropriately, in the manner intended' thing comes during the work time, I'm guessing 45 minutes or so, 4 days a week (the 5th day is PE, music, Spanish and recess, so not a lot of work).
    Oh, I would think that's OK then. I won't love it but accept it if I love the school otherwise. If it were the whole time, it is different. They are probably trying to refocus them on other things.
    KEVIN (6) & MATTHEW (4)

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    I'm sorry, imaginative play is the most important thing for her development right now. The most important thing.
    Me (40) DH (47) & furbabies * m/c 7/08 4/12 11/12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gwenn View Post
    I'm sorry, imaginative play is the most important thing for her development right now. The most important thing.

    I agree, completely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gwenn View Post
    I'm sorry, imaginative play is the most important thing for her development right now. The most important thing.
    Without question.

    If anything, if they insist on teaching letters in a formal fashion at this age, imaginative play would give it some context for the children.
    Yes, it would bother me.
    So many posts like this lately! I don't understand where these programs are getting their information.

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    I have been reading a bit about the subject, and I think I understand where Montessori is coming from, when it comes to imaginative play.

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/in...1190247AA34P7t
    http://www.leportschools.com/creativ...ri-principles/
    http://montessoritraining.blogspot.c...plane.html?m=1

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    Suja, I skimmed the first article you linked to and thought it was really good. But I'm having trouble seeing how being told NOT to use a banana to feed a baby and focus entirely on the letter sounds equates to the type of structured play described in the article. I am a big, big believer of naturalistic therapy with my kids. It's all about providing the tools - say I was working on speech sounds and wanted to target /b/, so had baby, banana, basket, etc. I would actually target using that natural play with those toys while focusing on speaking and hearing the sounds. Look at the baby! She's tired, let's put her in her basket to sleep. Oh, now sh's hungry! Let's have a banana! You get the idea. I am structuring the play and teaching my target through the play. Not telling her not to think of a baby as something that wants to be fed and put to sleep. Separating the idea from context does not further learning in any way. And that goes for any age, right up through graduate school!
    Last edited by Gwenn; 01-28-2013 at 11:02 PM.
    Me (40) DH (47) & furbabies * m/c 7/08 4/12 11/12

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    While I understand the idea, I don't think the application of it is appropriate, in this case. I can see how the type of imaginative play you're talking about would be frowned upon, because it is adult led, but I can't see how it would be, if it is child led.

    We're more Waldorf at home, so I don't think she is suffering from a lack of time for imaginative play. I still think that her teacher's application of the theory is wrong. I'm going to talk to her toddler teacher for a bit of perspective. And the principal, if I still have issues.

    This was also interesting: http://blogs.wsj.com/ideas-market/20...tessori-mafia/.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Suja View Post
    While I understand the idea, I don't think the application of it is appropriate, in this case. I can see how the type of imaginative play you're talking about would be frowned upon, because it is adult led, but I can't see how it would be, if it is child led.

    We're more Waldorf at home, so I don't think she is suffering from a lack of time for imaginative play. I still think that her teacher's application of the theory is wrong. I'm going to talk to her toddler teacher for a bit of perspective. And the principal, if I still have issues.

    This was also interesting: http://blogs.wsj.com/ideas-market/20...tessori-mafia/.
    Well, in my case, I am conducting therapy. And to be effective there has to be some degree of adult direction or it simply isn't therapy, it is play and no point in charging parents the going rate for a speech therapist. If the kid could do it all herself she wouldn't need therapy. So it's not exactly Montessori, but it is child led and there are other therapists who would swear up and down that what I do is way too child led and not therapy enough!
    Me (40) DH (47) & furbabies * m/c 7/08 4/12 11/12

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