The Bridge from Play to Instruction, and Instruction to Play
This chapter examines effective use of play-based and direct instruction, and how the two modes complement each other. It examines how to learn the children's needs through observation of their play. The chapter focuses on best groupings—whole-class groups or small groups—for various activities. Direct Instruction and Emergent Curriculum land on opposite ends of the teaching spectrum, and both are essential tools when working with young children. The Emergent Curriculum describes an individualized curriculum and the evolution of group themes that surface through the children's school experience. The teacher discovers what children are thinking about by observing and listening to their freeflow conversations. Observing play is both an active and quiet activity on the teacher's part. Along with the environmental structure and Emergent Curriculum, a seasonal theme guides and runs through the curriculum. The teacher's toolbox is vastly expanded once she becomes adept at teaching through play and individualizing her instruction for each child.