Early childhood educators have always understood the importance of play—in all its many forms—in the lives of their students. Guided play takes place in a purposeful environment that’s been carefully planned to stimulate and support children’s curiosity and creativity. As students interact with one another and the materials, teachers observe, record, confer, occasionally participate, or facilitate, and they use this information to plan next steps. However, the children decide how they will explore and interact with the materials, not the teachers.
In play, the child is always behaving beyond his age, above his usual everyday behavior. in play, he is, as it were, a head above himself –Lev Vygotsky
In Renée Dinnerstein's book, Choice Time, she goes further into two the main types of play but focuses mainly on the implementation of inquiry-based, guided play in the classroom. She discusses the importance of play in the classroom in the video below:
Renée Dinnerstein (@RDinnerstein) has almost 50 years experience as an early childhood educator, teaching in both Italy and in the United States. She is a past member of the Teachers’ College Reading and Writing Project Early Childhood Reading ‘think tank’, and has worked as an Early Childhood Staff Developer in the New York City Department of Education, where she helped write the New York City Pre-Kindergarten Standards. Visit her online at investigatingchoicetime.com.