Wednesday, June 25, 2008

dramatic play & already ready

On page 55 of Already Ready, Katie Wood Ray describes a preschool student acting out a picnic and a bear hunt during dramatic play time. After the playtime finished the teacher suggested that the child write about the picnic adventure so that she would remember it. In writing about the picnic and then presenting her book to the class the child naturally went through different stages of the writing process. Ray writes, "What Regan's process shows is how dramatic play can support the development of meaning, and particularly, the development of narrative. Because Regan had lived her story first through dramatic play, she was able to develop it more fully as a narrative and to draw from the details she remembers from being activity engaged in the experience."

How do we create a kindergarten classroom where we foster dramatic play that immediately lends itself to writing? Do we create dramatic play experiences for a whole-class and then immediately as the children to write about them, or do we stay engaged with the children during their free choice time and after "playing" with them do we suggest they go over to the writing center and get to work? Can we change the nature of free choice time to support writing workshop, or do the children developmentally need a time to let-down without the academics?

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