Blurring the Line Between Work and Play

Thursday - August 28, 2014

Incorporating play into schoolwork and removing the idea of "work" from schoolwork are two keys to making a better, more effective learning experience for children.


Children learn in different ways, but there’s something intuitively off-putting about the idea of “schoolwork” or “homework.” It’s that word “work,” and it carries the same connotations from the time we’re children to the time we’re adults in our own careers. “Work” is something you have to do. It’s something you probably don’t like to do. It’s something intensive that takes you away from what you actually want to be doing.

Making school seem like work is a surefire way to alienate a child from the learning process. If school is work, then it’s something hard, something unwanted, and something mandatory. While it is actually mandatory and by all definitions it is actually work, there are ways to make school more engaging, more fun, and more wanted.

It comes down to blurring the line between what qualifies as “play” and what qualifies as “work.” Many children read for fun, or play games with others while learning new concepts—these activities easily qualify as play and are fun for the children engaging with them, but at the same time, they’re learning and developing just as much as if they were engaging in “schoolwork.”

Incorporating more “play” activities into the school day makes it seem like less of a chore, and encouraging more freedom of choice (whether that’s real choice or just the illusion of it) gives students the perception that they are in full control of their activities. That level of engagement leads to students paying more attention, learning more, and eventually retaining more because they’re actively involved with their learning experience.

Of course, playing games all day isn’t the best option for learning either—but at Columbia Academy, our professional staff knows the right balance of work and play, and how to keep students involved without deviating from our outlined curriculum.

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