Resources Intentional Play
Music and the Baby Brain
Did you know that music makes you smarter, more productive and happier? Just listening to music has many benefits but playing an instrument can actually change the way children’s brains are wired and protect them from depression and toxic stress. An increasing number of scientists are studying the impact of music on the brain and their results show more benefits than ever suspected.
Preschool children learn through play. The history of developmental psychology attests to this message. Guided play advances cognitive skills like language and reading, as well as social skills like emotional regulation and peer cooperation. Despite overwhelming evidence for the power of play in development (Zigler et al., 2004; Singer et al., 2006), parents and educators worry that playtime takes children away from precious academic activities (Hirsh-Pasek & Golinkoff, 2003). Playtime has dropped precipitously from 40% in 1981 to 25% in 1997. Research in our laboratory explores how play sets the stage for academic and social learning in three general areas of study. First, we are examining how playful parent-child interactions stimulate rich verbal and physical expressions using different play media (e.g., construction blocks, electronic books). A second research area explores how different learning contexts, such as playful learning or memorization-based approaches, influence children’s ability to learn. Lastly, a third area of study examines parents’ beliefs about the nature and academic value of play, and how such beliefs relate to parenting practices. Click to the left to read more about our current studies and conference presentations! If you are interested in learning more about the role of play in child development, please see the presentation below for a general overview.
At the intersection of the global cities movement and the movement to optimize early education in and out of school, lies Playful Learning Landscapes. Twenty-first Century Learning models will need to embrace a breadth of skills that allow children to succeed in a world of increasing uncertainty and change. Projections suggest that by 2050 over 70% of the worlds’ children will be living in urban areas and that most of these children – over 825 million – will reach adulthood without even the basic secondary skills required to meet the workplace of today and tomorrow.