Abbie Lieberman and Shayna Cook wrote a blog post for NAEYC regarding the connection between children’s play and learning and how principals can recognize and utilize best practices:
Elementary school principals don’t always recognize how much children learn through play. In fact, play is a vehicle for student-centered learning, allowing meaningful interactions and conversation. Guided play helps children learn to solve problems, persist through challenges, build vocabulary skills, and gain background knowledge in many content areas. Many studies show the value of play-based learning. Yet it is far too rare in the early grades.
To be strong early education leaders, principals need better preparation, professional development, and support from districts and states. Some states and districts around the country are stepping up. Illinois, for example, is reaching principals before they start leading schools. The state has recently revamped its licensure system, replacing the K–12 principal license with a P–12 license. Early childhood content is now woven through the curriculum so that all aspiring principals receive preparation in pre-K.