I recently read Mariah Bruehl’s new book, Playful Learning. The book contains some lovely photographs, and the concept of playful learning in itself, while not a new one, is worth speaking of. Play is an important part of learning, not only for children but also for adults. When we pursue education and learning by choice and persuant to our individual interests, we are much more perceptive to learning.
However, after reading the book, I was left wondering with what purpose it was written. The author mentions that following a child’s interest is optimal and then goes on about how to insert one’s own agenda into their child’s interests. She hits briefly on multiple topics without fully developing any of them, skipping from organization, to various educational subjects, to playing a poor psychologist.
It also in unclear to what audience she is writing. Bruehl, a former teacher, is clearly enamored with the idea of institutionalized schooling. However, this book would have the most appeal to those families who take a school-at-home approach to homeschooling their preschool and kindergarten age children, in contrast to play based early childhood education. There are some redeeming suggested activities and brief suggested book lists, but all of them have been covered in other, more informative books.
Disclaimer: A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Shambala Publications.