A place where work is all play: A fun teaching technique

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. -- A local elementary school is changing the way kids learn in the classroom, as many parents focus on signing their little ones up for kindergarten.

At Robinson Elementary School, in Grand Haven, play is not only encouraged, it's essential in Kindergarten literacy and learning.

"I think that more and more the more you stretch these kids thin the more you see the behaviors and things we didn't used to see when you and i went to school it was a half day there was still play and snack time these kiddos are all day everyday now," Megan Goffnett said, the students teacher.

So, instead of being lectured on math and reading, students are mastering skills through games centered around numbers, letters and sentence structure.

Students will learn a new skill, then incorporate it into a game or small group activity like the card game 'war.' Whoever gets the greater card gets to keep it-- it's teaching students less than greater than.

With this technique, we're told students are more likely to interact, retain material and master skills necessary for future grades.

"These little bodies need to wiggle," Goffnett said. "There's a lot to teach in kindergarten but it doesn’t have to be sit and give."

When it comes to others' opinions on the technique, Goffnett says it varies.

"Some representatives think it's important and we need to keep kindergarten developmentally appropriate and then you have some who are huge supporters of Common Core," she said.

While the curriculum is clearly defined and Common Core standards are still present, teachers do have the freedom to educate with open minds.

"The progress these kids make is huge," Goffnett said. "We're just trying to make skills that we're teaching students developmentally appropriate for them.

Goffnett added that parents have been very supportive. .So is the Michigan Education Association, who sent us this statement:

“This is yet another example of the creativity of public school teachers—always looking for way to connect with students and make learning fun. The fact that the ‘play to learn’ concept is centered on developing literacy skills is very important. Reading is the key to all learning and focusing on that skill will benefit students throughout their academic careers.”

The MEA has not heard any criticism or negative feedback on this approach to teaching and learning.

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