Practicing reality: play in the Montessori environment
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Play has been a controversial term in the Montessori classroom since Dr. Montessori claimed the word "work" as both a noun and a verb to describe her children's activities. However, many activities that are termed "work" in the Montessori classroom might be called "play" in a traditional preschool. In addition, evidence of playful learning can be seen throughout the Montessori philosophy. Current research demonstrates that play is beneficial for children in a variety of developmental areas, and different types of play is expected and associated with different stages. The Montessori philosophy is dedicated to meeting all of the developmental needs of the "whole child" so that he or she may grow into an intellectually curious, compassionate, peaceful, and productive member of society. Montessori teachers must consider play as a developmental area, and observe and guide the children's movement in the classroom to support their growth. This action research aims to introduce materials and activities that could be termed "play" or contain play-like qualities into the classroom with the same amount of preparation, analysis, and sequencing as all of the other Montessori materials, with an informed perspective based on knowledge and observation.