In their well-received book, Complementary Curriculum Approach: Transform Your Practice Through Intentional Teaching, Iris Chin Ponte and Lisa Porter Kuh describe a dilemma many early care and education professionals face,
“On one hand, early childhood educators want to promote play-based experiences and open-ended, creative opportunities with loose parts and multiple entry points, because teachers know that children learn through play and hands-on exploration (Copple and Bredekamp, 2009). On the other hand, teachers are under increasing pressure from administrators and funders to teach academic content and discrete skills linked to assessments that measure children’s learning. Teachers feel caught in an either/or choice between play and skill-building, and they can become immobilized.”
Throughout their book, Ponte and Kuh provide examples of what they call a “settled classroom,” which they believe can help educators meet the dilemma by providing a way for them to offer play-based experiences, while also scaffolding and tracking children’s important learning. They write,
“A settled classroom is one where children are free to choose materials and experiences that interest and delight them, have the time and space to concentrate on meaningful, interesting activities, and work and play joyfully as part of a community of learners. The adults in a settled classroom are equally delighted as they thoughtfully guide children in their pursuits, following children’s interests to deepen learning.”
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The table of contents for their book might give you a better idea of what the authors mean by a “settled classroom.” http://ccie-digitaleditions.s3.amazonaws.com/CCA_Preview/index.html#page=1
It sounds very interesting but without an example, I really have no idea what they're talking about. Maybe they could explain it further thank you.