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Essentials for Learning: Encouraging Dramatic Play and Creative Expression in Early Childhood

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT

Presented by Dr. Ann Barbour, Professor Emerita, Early Childhood Education
Sponsored by Gryphon House


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Children’s love of learning is sometimes lost in the focus on standards-based curriculum. Concerns about school readiness and subsequent academic success can discourage many PreK and primary grade teachers, as well as parents, from building on children’s natural playfulness and creativity as mediums for learning.

High quality play experiences help children acquire basic academic skills. They also provide frameworks for developing the intellectual and creative dispositions necessary to adapt to and thrive in rapidly changing times – and they make classrooms joyful places for learning. Ann Barbour taught how playful learning, dramatic play and other creative activities in particular, help children develop foundational skills for success in school and in life.

Topics included:

  • Connections between imaginative play and the underlying competencies and approaches to learning that ready children for the future
  • Ideas for classroom designs, activities and responsive interactions that facilitate learning through play
  • Ways to elicit family support in extending creative play as a medium for learning


ann barbourA former classroom teacher, Dr. Ann Barbour has trained early childhood educators for nearly three decades. The role of play in learning figures prominently in the courses she teaches. She was a content advisor for all 650 episodes of the Peabody Awarded “A Place of Our Own” and “Los Niños en Su Casa,” the sister television series designed to enrich the learning experiences of preschool-age children. She has worked with school district personnel, answered questions about school readiness on PBS Parents’ website, and authored several books on appropriate practice, including Play Today: Building the Young Brain through Creative Expression.




Gryphon House


Gryphon House, Inc. is an award-winning publisher of early childhood resources for teachers and parents.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT
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