“The foundation of play-activated learning is who you are,” said presenter Sally Haughey to more than 100 early educators at a recent Childcare Resources workshop. “At the end of the day, all that matters is your relationship to the child. The children need to see you, fully present with them.”
Representing thirty-nine local schools and centers across Indian River County, the attending educators joined Haughey in creative activities, discussion, and educational practice. Funded by the Indian River County Children’s Services Advisory Committee and PNC, this professional development workshop allowed attendees to discover the value of play and the meaning behind the classroom environment.
Haughey, the CEO and Founder of Wunderled, formerly known as Fairy Dust Teaching, explored how to bring play-based educational practices into the classroom. Building upon an Educator Identity Model, Haughey asked each participant to explore their pedagogy by examining their personal mission, vision, and what it is about teaching that brings joy.
“Pedagogy is comprised of three things: my principles, my practices, and my perspectives,” said Haughey. “How you relate to the children in your classroom is unique to you.”
Following the introspective journey, Haughey moved from the head to the hands, discussing practical methods of empowering learning environments and supporting children’s play through Play Mapping. A Play Map uses observation to document the physical actions and overall topics of children’s play. This documentation can help an educator better support play-activated learning and determine the next steps in the educational process.
“I feel that learning more about how to apply Play Mapping into our daily classroom program can be beneficial on many levels,” said local center director Traci Lawson-Harrell. “This training was an amazing look at the benefits of documenting a child's hard work through play.”