Using The Brain Architecture Game, we built brains and discovered the many areas that impact brain development like genetics, social support, and life experiences. We were given different structural pieces depending on if the brain’s experiences were positive (responsive caregivers, having a language-rich environment, a diet rich in healthy, non-processed foods), tolerable (childhood illness, caregiver depression, poorly trained childcare providers, parent’s loss of job, divorce, frequent caregiver changes) or toxic (malnutrition, neglect, caregiver substance abuse, physical or emotional abuse, witnessing violence). As you can see below, some of our brains fared better than others!
In collaboration with faculty and staff, we created a vision for how meaningful play might look on our campus. With the help of our EdTech department, a Meaningful Play Guide was developed. The Meaningful Play Guide reminds us what play is, where it can take place, how much time can be utilized, how skill practice can be embedded and learning assessed, what role teachers and assistants have in the experience (onlooker, stage-manager, co-player, play leader), and an opportunity to reflect on the learning experience. This guide serves as a framework for teachers as they plan centers, create dramatic play areas, design projects, etc.
We LOVE to play in preschool and will continue learning ways to create a purposeful, rich play experience for our students. We have our students for approximately 550 of their first 2000 days and want to make the most of this time building the strongest brain structure we can.