Education Insights

Every week on Monday at 3:04 pm, Cornerstone Learning Community sponsors Education Insights on WFSU (88.9) covering a range of topics related to learning, schooling, and education. Below is an archive of the programs with both the recording and the transcript.

Have a question or suggestion? Please email CLC’s Director, Jason Flom.

What does it mean to be a play-based learning environment?


In preschool and kindergarten, the term “play based learning” refers to practices that are aligned with young learners’ developmental readiness to learn. Programs that employ a play based approach engage students in activities that build the foundations for future academic success. The learning environment is intentionally designed to invite investigation, inspire imagination, and cultivate curiosity.

The report, “Crisis in the Kindergarten: Why Children Need Play in School” by The Alliance for Childhood reports on a comprehensive review of literature and report,

“researchers found evidence that play contributes to advances in “verbalization, vocabulary, language comprehension, attention span, imagination, concentration, impulse control, curiosity, problem-solving strategies, cooperation, empathy, and group participation.”

A play based approach balances structured activities with opportunities for students to have choice and reflects the wide variation in the youngest of learners.

What does it mean to be “Kindergarten ready”?


The term kindergarten ready refers to a child’s developmental capacity to tackle the learning expectations of kindergarten. However, because some kindergarteners may be upwards of a year older than their peers, the term “kindergarten ready” is better thought of as a student’s approach to learning than about a specific skill set.

For example: Some children enter kindergarten already able to independently read and understand a wide range of books while others are just becoming aware of the relationship between print on a page and words. Such variation is quite normal and completely natural.

Because of this variability of students’ learning profiles when they enter kindergarten, absolute skill sets for all children may do more harm than good, according to research on early learning programs that emphasize academics over play. Instead, most early childhood experts agree that readiness for kindergarten is mostly determined by a learners’ overall well-being, ability to communicate and socialize, and their enthusiasm for new activities.

What is a “Whole Child” Education?

The term “whole child” refers to education that goes beyond academics and test scores to include a focus on all aspects of a student’s well-being. The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (or ASCD) is an international education association with over 50,000 members. The Whole Child is one of their key initiatives for preschool – 12th grade. They focus on whole child through 5 lens: healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.

Whole Child Tenets

  • Each student enters school healthy and learns about and practices a healthy lifestyle.
  • Each student learns in an environment that is physically and emotionally safe for students and adults.
  • Each student is actively engaged in learning and is connected to the school and broader community.
  • Each student has access to personalized learning and is supported by qualified, caring adults.
  • Each student is challenged academically and prepared for success in college or further study and for employment and participation in a global environment.


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