The Play to Learn Act: A Refocusing of Early Childhood Education

Article Updated March 11, 2021

Sometimes you just have to jump up, run around, and shake all the wiggles out! The Play to Learn Act, authored by Rep. Jacob Rosecrants, understands this truth. This bipartisan-supported act, numbered House Bill 1569, aims to get children actively involved in the learning process through play-based curriculum and focused movement.

“I genuinely believe children learn best through hands-on, play-based learning,” said Rosecrants. “It is simply not focused upon as it should be in our schools, as I saw with my own children in their early childhood education experiences.”   

Rosecrants believes this legislation could also help in another area of need, teacher retention: “The teacher shortage is felt sharpest in the early childhood grade levels,” said Rosecrants. “By letting prospective early childhood educators know that they can teach kids the way they were taught to teach them, this legislation can be part of the solution to Oklahoma’s teacher retention problem.”

The Play to Learn Act seeks to incorporate play-based learning curriculum into early childhood education by implementing a strong recommendation.

“It is the intention of the Oklahoma State Legislature,” according to the text of the bill, “to focus on the importance of child-centered, play-based learning as the most rigorous and most developmentally appropriate way for children in the early childhood grade levels to learn literacy, science, technology, engineering, art and math academic concepts.”

An amendment — to give the bill “some teeth” — was also added to prevent school officials from actively obstructing or preventing play-based learning. While this amendment adds a bit of fervor to the bill, it was still acknowledged by committee members that HB 1569 allows sufficient flexibility and personalization as not to infringe on local control.

In a recent POE member survey of over 1400 members, more than 82% of respondents indicated they ‘support’ or ‘strongly support’ the Play to Learn Act.

The Play to Learn Act unanimously passed the House Common Education Committee with a 14-0 vote. On Tuesday, March 9, The Act passed the House general assembly 76-16. The bill now advances to the Senate for further consideration. Sen. Adam Pugh, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, is the principal author in the Senate.

If you support HB 1569 — the Play to Learn Act — be sure to contact your local Senator soon to share your support!

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