Why We Play… Every Day

By Michelle Salcedo, M.Ed., Sunshine House Chief Academic Officer

Recently, the Alliance for Childhood published a 72-page report called Crisis in Kindergarten: Why Children Need to Play in School. In this compelling paper, some of the most influential leaders in the early education field summarize the many research studies that point to the value of play in children’s early years. Research is clear that young children need early learning programs that provide supported and intentionally-planned opportunities to play.

Research also tells us that there is little or no long-term value to introducing strict academics at earlier ages. In fact, studies are showing that too much too soon can actually present challenges for children’s critical thinking, creativity, and social development in the later grades.

At The Sunshine House, we are committed to building the most solid educational foundation possible for your child. That is why we design curricular programs and classrooms based on what research tells us young children need. We integrate literacy, math, science, and social understandings in appropriate ways. Teachers support children in exploring these important concepts while they play in enriched learning spaces.


  • learn their ABC’s as they write a recipe while being a cook in the pretend center
  • use math as they figure out which group has more items in the sensory table
  • explore physics concepts as they build ramps in the block center
  • develop critical thinking as they manipulate a puzzle piece to get it to fit in the math center
  • build oral language (which is the foundation of reading and writing) as they investigate objects through a magnifying glass in the science center
  • expand their problem-solving skills as they figure out how to get that ribbon to stick to the paper in the art center
  • And so much more.

Many of the children we have the honor of serving have been on this planet for fewer than five years. Play allows their brains to take in and process the information they need to make sense of this world they were born into. So now, when you pick your child up from school and ask, “What did you to do today?” and she shrugs and says “play,” rest assured that her little brain is getting exactly what it needs to tackle the academic and social challenges that await her in the years to come.