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Lisa Murphy on Play: The Foundation of Children's Learning

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Discover why playing is school readiness with this updated guide. Timely research and new stories highlight how play is vital to the social, physical, cognitive, and spiritual development of children. Learn the seven meaningful experiences we should provide children with every day and why they are so important.


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Discover why playing is school readiness with this updated guide. Timely research and new stories highlight how play is vital to the social, physical, cognitive, and spiritual development of children. Learn the seven meaningful experiences we should provide children with every day and why they are so important.

30 review for Lisa Murphy on Play: The Foundation of Children's Learning

  1. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Lisa Murphy is one of the key players in early childhood education, and it's easy to see why. I was fortunate enough to see a seminar of hers at NAEYC this year, and this book and her philosophy on the importance of play has definitely given me some clear objectives in my job as a preschool teacher. This book was fascinating and inspired me to do all I can to make sure my kids are getting many opportunities to do the Seven Things each day: create, move, sing, discuss, observe, read, and PLAY! Lisa Murphy is one of the key players in early childhood education, and it's easy to see why. I was fortunate enough to see a seminar of hers at NAEYC this year, and this book and her philosophy on the importance of play has definitely given me some clear objectives in my job as a preschool teacher. This book was fascinating and inspired me to do all I can to make sure my kids are getting many opportunities to do the Seven Things each day: create, move, sing, discuss, observe, read, and PLAY!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    I read this book for a class I’m taking to renew my teaching license. Fantastic book for everyone with young children to read (not just teachers). It gives so much evidence for play instead of highly academic school programs and has lit a bit of a fire in me as I’m beginning the search for schooling for my little guy. Seriously, please read it and let’s bring back childhood.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Teri Pardue

    I haven’t been able to run my play-based preschool this past year, due to the pandemic and our country’s restrictions. I have grieved that, but I also managed to throw myself into other pursuits (finishing my masters and helping my own 4 kids navigate online learning to name a few!) That said, reading Lisa Murphy’s book on how play is the foundation of children’s learning was like coming up for fresh air that I didn’t even know I needed! It reminded me of why I love what I do and why I am passion I haven’t been able to run my play-based preschool this past year, due to the pandemic and our country’s restrictions. I have grieved that, but I also managed to throw myself into other pursuits (finishing my masters and helping my own 4 kids navigate online learning to name a few!) That said, reading Lisa Murphy’s book on how play is the foundation of children’s learning was like coming up for fresh air that I didn’t even know I needed! It reminded me of why I love what I do and why I am passionate about educating others on the value of play. It’s an excellent, easy read with helpful resources, practical advice, and stories about children that remind me of all my own wonderful stories. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t give it a five-star rating due to two huge disappointments. (1) Murphy often used all-caps to make her point or conversational speech that took away from the power of what she was saying. It made the book feel unprofessional - at times like some random teacher’s soapbox. I know for a fact that Murphy is anything but a “random teacher”. She is highly qualified by both her experience and her education to speak to early childhood development and education. Sometimes I feel like books written for early child professionals are written this way because - ‘hey, we work with children and know how to have fun’. But it detracts from the value of what is being presented and perpetuates the myth that early childhood educators aren’t *true* teachers. The cutesy font on the cover? Even my elementary-aged child said to me, “that’s silly on a book for grownups”. Honestly, I agree with her and it makes me hesitant to use this when I teach college students or work with parents. (2) The swearing! What a disappointment! This comes back to many of the things I said in my first point on professionalism, but I it felt warranted its own point. It’s not that Murphy is constantly swearing, but there are enough uses of the word damn and the like to make me unwilling to use this when presenting material to my college students or sharing resources with parents. And you couple that with the all-caps and too many exclamation marks, and it just gave the book more of a beach-read feel (which is what I did) then a meaningful resource. Maybe that is Murphy’s goal. But she has a lot of insight and I hate to see her not get the credit and respect she’s due. And I want so badly for the field to be seen as professional and invaluable.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    I wanted to like this book. I really did. But the first third of it is basically a memoir. Then she goes on a rant about adhd medication. Then she says that a child who is not talking at 4 has nothing wrong with them and doesn’t need extra support (but then describes an early intervention she does with one such student). It just got to feeling really ableist.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Baker

    Every year I struggle with my decision to teach primarily through play in my state administered VPK classroom. It feels like there are too many standards to meet in the too few hours of my half-day class. The result is usually me teetering back and forth between too much control and direction, and reacting with too little "teaching" because too much control doesn't feel right. This book helped me find more balance in the way I run my class. Lisa Murphy presents seven elements of play that early Every year I struggle with my decision to teach primarily through play in my state administered VPK classroom. It feels like there are too many standards to meet in the too few hours of my half-day class. The result is usually me teetering back and forth between too much control and direction, and reacting with too little "teaching" because too much control doesn't feel right. This book helped me find more balance in the way I run my class. Lisa Murphy presents seven elements of play that early childhood education should include every day. As I have sought to change my approach to include more of these things, I have discovered greater freedom to allow my kids to learn at their own pace, with their own strengths, following their own rhythm. And here I am, halfway through another school year with a group of children who were struggling a little more at the beginning of the year (compared to previous year's groups) and THEY ARE FLOURISHING! Again I discover that singing, reading, discussing, and all the other elements REALLY DO WORK! (What? You thought I would give you all of them? You NEED to read this book!) Not only are the principles of the book sound and supported by tons of research, but Lisa Murphy's writing is, like her in-person presentations, fun, well-communicated, and full of tangible examples. I walked away from this book insisting that it should be mandatory reading for anyone teaching young children. Books abound on how to run a (boring) classroom, but I will take this book over any of them! It was well worth the investment, and has definitely made me a better teacher.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    Lisa Murphy brings the power of play to life in her book. This book is a must-read for everyone in early childhood education. She shows how important play truly is for children and how much it encourages their development. Some of her ideas were extreme, such as just letting the children roam the house freely, but I did feel like her core concepts where excellent. I loved seeing her view on play and how much it affected her in her own development. This book opened my eyes to the power of play. P Lisa Murphy brings the power of play to life in her book. This book is a must-read for everyone in early childhood education. She shows how important play truly is for children and how much it encourages their development. Some of her ideas were extreme, such as just letting the children roam the house freely, but I did feel like her core concepts where excellent. I loved seeing her view on play and how much it affected her in her own development. This book opened my eyes to the power of play. Play is the foundation of every child's academic success. Playing for children is something that is developmentally critical yet can often get overlooked.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Angel

    I read this book in the most appropriate of ways- in between moments of helping my daughter climb the poles of the park's swingset, catching (and releasing) cicadas, singing BINGO and the Fifty Nifty United States song. I believe in the benefits of unstructured playful summer afternoons. This book puts out in clear and friendly language things most of us know deep down but sone of us have forgotten in our adultness. I read this book in the most appropriate of ways- in between moments of helping my daughter climb the poles of the park's swingset, catching (and releasing) cicadas, singing BINGO and the Fifty Nifty United States song. I believe in the benefits of unstructured playful summer afternoons. This book puts out in clear and friendly language things most of us know deep down but sone of us have forgotten in our adultness.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stefani Ilkic

    I can't believe I didn't read this book earlier. It is so in-line with my philosophies, ideals, and everyday practices...well, I practically could have written it! Absolutely a terrific book for any person in childcare to read - it lays out why play is so necessary for children! If you aren't on board with play as curriculum, or if you are struggling to put play into practice, this is for you especially!! I can't believe I didn't read this book earlier. It is so in-line with my philosophies, ideals, and everyday practices...well, I practically could have written it! Absolutely a terrific book for any person in childcare to read - it lays out why play is so necessary for children! If you aren't on board with play as curriculum, or if you are struggling to put play into practice, this is for you especially!!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Candice Cleniuk

    I really enjoyed part one, there was lots to think about and consider. Part two, however, was mostly just confirming what any Early Childhood Educator already knows. I'm glad I read it and can see why so many love the changes that Lisa Murphy is making in the field of Early Childhood Education. I really enjoyed part one, there was lots to think about and consider. Part two, however, was mostly just confirming what any Early Childhood Educator already knows. I'm glad I read it and can see why so many love the changes that Lisa Murphy is making in the field of Early Childhood Education.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    Loved this book! Children should play! Play is learning and learning is play. Read it for a humorous and intelligent look at why this is true and how you can make it happen in the lives of children you work and play with. :)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Amy Girard

    A great read to remind educators and parents on the importance of play in children’s development and learning.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    Bit of the research behind the importance of play and a whole lotta great ideas.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Great book! I read the first edition of this book years ago, but loved reading this second edition. It has reinvigorated my teaching. Thank you Lisa Murphy

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Loved this book - Lisa Murphy is right on and should be in charge of the early literacy education in the is country!! Really.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ann Knuttila

    Such a huge believer in learn through play. This book is more for educators, but I still took away some great ideas for how to engage my boys in play and why it's important. Such a huge believer in learn through play. This book is more for educators, but I still took away some great ideas for how to engage my boys in play and why it's important.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tara Yingling

    Really accessible. Should be required reading for those in early childhood education settings, but a great read for parents, also!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Martha Brown

    A must-read for every early years educator.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mills College Library

    155.418 M9786 2016

  19. 5 out of 5

    Angy

    I highly recommend this book for everyone! Whether you are a parent, preschool or elementary teacher, homeschool parent... there is something for everyone and it’s a very engaging read!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rachael Caskey

    This was so good, I read it twice!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    This was an excellent book supporting playful learning. Lisa Murphy not only offers the research that demonstrates this, but also anecdotal evidence. She encourages readers to collect the research they find and use it to defend their practice to the nay-sayers. Really inspriational. Every early childhood educator should read this book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Vicky

    eveyone in ece should read this add it to ur employee orentation consider it pd but buy it read it live it. love Lisa Murphy

  23. 4 out of 5

    Judy

  24. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Kottke

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kara

  27. 5 out of 5

    Whitney Woodward

  28. 5 out of 5

    Leah McGowan

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Bell

  30. 5 out of 5

    Emily

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