Play is essential to the program at All Souls School. There are many kinds of play the children engage in throughout their day at school. Play is necessary for the development of intellect, physical competence, and social skills. Due to the age of the children play is considered work in the classroom. As children explore their world through play, they are engaged in activities that increase their intellects and help them form theories about how the world works. Through the repeated

interaction with materials in the classroom such as sand, clay, water, and blocks, the children are learning about their specific properties and gaining skills by practicing the various ways of controlling their mediums. This leads to constructive play where children use objects to make something such as a sand castle, a colorful painting, or a ball of play dough. When children use the materials to symbolically represent ideas, they are thinking abstractly and forming the skills needed for higher-level abstract thinking.

For example, when children use a block to represent a phone, they are beginning to understand that symbols can represent ideas in a similar way that letters represent sounds when learning to read. They are taking steps toward the abstract from reality and engaging in non-literal thinking. When engaged in play the children are learning social skills that will assimilate as they grow and when interacting with people in the future. They learn to negotiate, to plan ahead, to problem solve, to establish and play by rules, to respect the contributions of others and to stand up for their own ideas. They learn to understand how others are feeling and to respond to the signals that their playmates send. During play children develop a sense of belonging and experience the joys of friendship.

Play is the best way for young children to develop their gross and fine motor skills. Opportunities abound in the classroom for the children to develop their muscles, engage their senses, and challenge their coordination. On the roof the children love to practice climbing, running, tricycle and balance bike riding, building, and inventing games with endless enthusiasm. In the classroom the children tackle physical challenges in a non-competitive, safe environment where learning a new skill while playing with various tools such as scissors or egg beaters reinforces fine motor coordination. The small muscles that work to make a tape picture or guide a paintbrush help children learn to make the precise and refined movements to perform more difficult tasks such as writing. Play allows children an outlet to express their worries, fears, desires and passions. While playing, children work out emotional issues and seek each other out to gain comfort as they communicate through their play.


You know that wonderfully soft playdough the All Souls teachers make for the classrooms? You can make it at home with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen, in just about 10 minutes. It feels nicer, is all natural, and doesn’t crumble as much as the store bought kind. Here’s the recipe:


2 cup Flour
2 cup Water
1/2 cup Salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Cream of Tartar
2 Tablespoons of Oil
Food Coloring (if desired)

1. Mix together all the ingredients in a saucepan.
2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.
3. Playdough is finished when not sticky to the touch and of a dough-like consistency.