Ashwood Waldorf School is offering a series of playtime opportunities for children ages 2-6 years old (with an adult) on Thursday and Friday mornings at venues around the Midcoast.

Teacher Beth Lunt will present a simple puppet show and lead circle and finger games that families can learn and enjoy at home.

Play has received a lot of attention in the media and in educational circles recently. In the face of increasing academic pressures, experts in child development have begun to emphasize that play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well being of children and youth. Play is so important to optimal child development that the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights identifies it as a right of every child. Professor Alison Gopnik, remarking on the pressures parents experience to give their young children a "head start," says, "There’s hard evidence that children learn more things through play than they would in some academic setting.”

Children are eventually going to learn to recognize letters. But learning how people work and what’s in others’ minds is a much deeper and more profound learning. Ironically, parents who think they are helping their children by exposing them to flashcards with letters on them are doing less to help their children than parents who expose their children to pretend play, read to them, and talk with them.

Not only is play a vital element of early-childhood growth, it is a delightful one. The public is invited to attend one or more of these joyful mornings. A $5 donation is suggested.

Contact Ashwood Waldorf School with any questions: 236-8021 or info@ashwoodwaldorf.org.

January

Jan. 21: Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland: 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.: Shingebiss

February

Feb. 4: Ashwood Waldorf School, 10 to 11 a.m.: Shingebiss

Feb. 11: Ashwood Waldorf School, 10 to 11 a.m.: Old Gnome in the Winter

Feb. 25: Ashwood Waldorf School, 10 to 11 a.m.: The Turnip

Feb. 12: Belfast Free Library, 10 to 11 a.m.: Old Gnome in the Winter

Feb. 26: Vose Library, Union, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.: Old Gnome in the Winter

March

March 10: Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland: 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.: Mashenka and the Bear

March 11: Belfast Free Library, 10 to 11 a.m.: Mashenka and the Bear

March 17: Toy Library, Rockland, 10 to 11 a.m.: Old Gnome in the Winter

March 24: Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland: 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.: Old Gnome in the Winter

March 31: Toy Library, Rockland, 10 to 11 a.m.: Mashenka and the Bear

April

April 1: Belfast Free Library, 10 to 11 a.m.: Sun and Rain Fairies

April 7: Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland: 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.: Sun and Rain Fairies

April 8: Vose Library, Union, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.: Sun and Rain Fairies

April 14: Toy Library, Rockland, 10 to 11 a.m.: Sun and Rain Fairies

April 15: Toy Library, Rockland, 10 to 11 a.m.: The Brave Little Rabbit

April 28: Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland: 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.: The Brave Little Rabbit

April 29: Vose Library, Union, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.: The Brave Little Rabbit