Date of Award


Document Type

Non Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education




Early Childhood Education

Capstone Instructor

Barbara Schoenbeck

Second Reader

Carmen Cook


play-based education, Kindergarten, developmentally appropriate practices


In this new millennium the first year of elementary school once meant for play and getting children acclimated to school life, "Kindergarten", has become more and more focused on academic performance. Formal academic structured kindergarten programs are spreading rapidly across the United States, causing a push for academic preparation to be acknowledge during the younger years for children. This academic focus is targeting children younger than five years of age, which are the years children are growing rapidly physical, socially, emotionally, and cognitively. These years are also the times where young children are enjoying life experiences in their world of learning through their routine "play" activities. The key method to prepare young children for kindergarten readiness in the new millennium is to continue allowing young children to be exposed to academic concepts through adult facilitated interactive play activities.

The literature review supports the importance of young children's play activities and how play can introduce and allow young children to develop the academic concepts needed in the kindergarten structure classroom. The project provides awareness for the parents/guardians and early childhood educators/preschool teachers of what components are needed to provide a playful academic concept building environment for young children. Also within the project there are concept skills checklists and several suggested play activities that are age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate for young children from birth through four years.


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