At McKendree, we pride ourselves on being “Champions of Play” and you will find no stronger champions than our very own McKendree children! In our fast paced and overwhelming world, it’s more important than ever to remember how to slow down and allow children, and ourselves, time to explore, ponder, and PLAY. While we all know that play is important, did you know that it is one of the cornerstones of our philosophy as a play-based program? Play is not only about finding joy and having a good time, which is also awesome, but beyond that, there is a constant stream of learning that is occurring as children engage in both independent and group play. Play helps children build on prior knowledge while also having new and enriching experiences to clear the path for future learning. Research shows there are numerous benefits to offering ample unstructured, open-ended play opportunities for young children. Play allows and encourages children to learn how to negotiate, problem solve, share, and work cooperatively and collaboratively within groups. Play also encourages lots of practice with decision-making skills, and allows children to move at their own pace while discovering their own unique and shared interests, and unstructured play often leads to more active, physical movement and much healthier children. As you can see, play is about much more than just having a good time! So, let’s learn what McKendree kids already know and choose pure wonder and joy to become a “Champion of Play” for all!