In the Classroom: The Leapfrogs
Learning Sparked by Pretend Play
With winter upon us, many Leapfrogs have been to the doctor for check-ups, illnesses, or for their annual booster shots. These memorable visits generated many conversations throughout our classroom about doctors and their roles. This spark led our classroom into our exploration of safety workers and professions that help to keep our community safe, including doctors, fire fighters and police officers.
As our study began, the Leapfrog teachers discovered that the dramatic play area quickly became the heart of our learning. To develop and enrich the role-play, we incorporated many props and materials within the dramatic play area, such as a doctor’s kit stocked with medical tools and supplies, x-rays, an eye chart, and a medical checklist.
The Leapfrogs also used their own creativity to bolster their role-play by arranging chairs to create a fire truck or using stethoscopes as hoses to extinguish fires. Not only did the Leapfrogs learn more about these professions, but they also developed other areas of learning including language, literacy, and cognitive skills.
During their doctor role-play, the Leapfrogs examined real life x-rays on the light table, which provoked conversation about the bones within our bodies and how they allow us to move. They also utilized a play thermometer to determine if their “patient” had a fever. This elicited discussion about body temperature and its unit of measurement: degrees. As the Leapfrogs performed the eye test using the eye chart, they were worked on letter identification.
Social-emotional skills were another skill set that was strongly supported and developed through dramatic play. As the Leapfrogs acted out these professions, they divided roles between themselves, such as patient, doctor, nurse, police sergeant, partner, etc. With this type of cooperative play and interaction with one another, the children worked on problem solving, taking turns, and sharing responsibilities.
As the children acted out and explored these professions through role play, it provided many opportunities to learn about themselves and the world around them.