All Rigor and No Play Is No Way to Improve Learning

Wohlwend, Karen E.; Peppler, Kylie
Phi Delta Kappan

The authors propose and discuss their Playshop curricular model, which they developed with teachers. Their studies suggest a playful approach supports even more rigor than the Common Core State Standards require for preschool and early grade children. Children keep their attention longer when learning comes in the form of something they can play with. Research also shows, the authors say, that just because children are playing does not mean they are not developing intellectually or academically. The play/rigor binary is a false construct, the authors say, which has errantly led schools to shorten and eliminate recess and playtime for children, more specifically hurting low-income and diverse children’s chances for fuller academic and intellectual progress that could help close the achievement gap.