Playful Development is a program that uses imaginative play and the arts to teach children of all ages the foundational soft skills that they will need to navigate the world as they continue to grow. In play, an activity usually not associated with learning/teaching, children (and adults) are able to try out new ways of being and doing in the world in a safe and supportive environment. In play, students get to be both who they are, and who they are becoming. In play, academic subjects like math, literacy, and writing, as well as social skills like teamwork, collaborative brainstorming, being present, and communication across difference, all come together in a dynamic and fluid engagement that creates a lasting impression and a love for learning.
Playful Development focuses on your child’s interests and passions and turns those passions into meaningful learning opportunities. In a traditional education setting, students are forced to learn a little bit about ALL subjects, but deeply about none. In the Playful Development Program, I hone in on your child’s interests and use those interests to create lesson plans that will keep your student engaged and excited about learning. A fascination with weather for example paves the way for a lesson on rainbows in which science, math, literacy, and the social components of teamwork and collaborative brainstorming all come together in one beautiful art project.
In the example above, the student and I started out the lesson with a video about how rainbows are formed. We discussed the fact that both rain and sun needed to be present in the sky for a rainbow to appear, something she found fascinating. We then discussed the sequencing of a rainbow and how all rainbows present themselves in the same way and we learned the helpful acronym for remembering the order (ROYGBIV). We also wondered what the difference between indigo and “just blue” was, which lead to a quick bout of online research. We then collaborated on what materials we could use to create our own unique rainbow. Once we decided to use objects rather than simply coloring a rainbow, we had several conversations about less than, equal to, or more. This student had far more pink toys than we could use, orange toys were the hardest to come by and therefore the pile with the least, and purple and blue toys were about even. Next, we tried various ways of laying out our rainbow, and finally agreed that we liked this layout best. Lastly, we photographed our efforts with the intention of turning it into both a work of art to hang on the wall, and brilliantly colored “I Spy” book. This is a perfect example of Playful Development in action—academics and art rolled into one exciting lesson that is dynamic and fluid, naturalistic, child led, and memorable. My student still talks about this project.
Student to teacher ratio 1:6
Kindergarten through third grade
Monthly Enrollment: Pods $750.00 month/student
Private 1:1 35.00 hourly.
COVID-19 procedures: Small class size (no more than 6 students at a time), frequent hand-washing, frequent sanitizing of the learning area and of all materials. Temperature checks upon arrival.
Starts in September, in a parent’s home in the Seattle and surround area
Rachael Williamson obtained her master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Washington Tacoma. Her research/practice focuses on play and performance (improv/drama) as new and revolutionary forms of pedagogy. She has conducted various playful workshops with children on the Autism Spectrum and their families, as well as presenting her work at various conferences around the country including the international Performing the World conference in New York which had hundreds of collaborators from around the world. Rachael has worked with children on the spectrum for the past 6 years and spent the last two years teaching in a private school specifically tailored for children with special needs. In addition to her teaching experience, she is also trained in applied behavioral analysis, and is a registered behavioral technician (RBT). Rachael is CPR, CPI, and HIPPA, certified
Favorite Children’s Book: Currently it is “Unicorn and Horse” by David Miles for my younger students and “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle for older students.