Bringing Back Learning through Play in the Kindergarten Classroom

Nicole Nesheim, Ph.D
Nov. 14, 2022

Early childhood leader, Kathy Hollowell-Makle cites a leading reason for her interest in early learning was the fact that time and time again, children were entering DC kindergarten classrooms “unprepared,” even though they had exposure to preschool programs. 

Hollowell-Makle posits the true problem is the curriculum continues to be pushed down to lower grades, rendering kindergarten more academically rigorous than it has been in previous years. What impact does this have on pre-K children and teachers, though? Less learning through play and more focus on pre-foundational skills to ensure kindergarten readiness at an earlier age.  

Even before the global pandemic sent children away from classrooms in droves, preschool-aged children were getting pushed to display kindergarten readiness traits at accelerated paces. Now, post-pandemic, preschool teachers are feeling the pressure tenfold. Children are entering preschool programs with little practice in group settings, forcing their teachers to address social-emotional needs urgently to ensure children can be prepared for learning academic skills such as letter recognition or identifying patterns.  

The key issue is that researchers over the years have well-substantiated the claim that learning through play is the primary best practice in early childhood. Preschool-aged children need opportunities to be social and learn alongside their peers. Important lessons like taking turns, sharing, and being patient develop in these early developmental social moments – play is paramount. 

At Hatch Early Learning, we champion joy in conjunction with learning. We believe that fostering play and a love of learning will encourage future engagement in the classroom, positioning learning as a lifelong journey. All of our products are created with these beliefs in mind: our interactive table fosters natural, small-group learning through group play; our digital learning platform Ignite encourages a personalized, independent learning journey through the completion of a series of academic games with a digital buddy, and our interactive whiteboard fosters whole-group, dynamic instruction. Take a look at our website to learn more about how you can ignite the joy of learning with Hatch products today!