OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislation to increase the opportunity for Oklahoma students to benefit from play-based learning in public schools was filed today for the 58th Legislative Session.
The Oklahoma Play to Learn Act, House Bill 1569, is the product of a 30-person task force of educators and education advocates State Rep. Jacob Rosecrants, D-Norman, put together and has led since 2019. Its focus is to empower Oklahoma educators to use play-based learning in their classrooms.
“I genuinely believe children learn best through hands-on, play-based learning,” said Rosecrants, the bill’s author. “It simply isn’t focused upon as it should be in our schools, as I saw with the experiences with my children in their early childhood education.”
The Oklahoma Play to Learn Act has three different planks:
- Declares legislative intent to focus on the importance of child-centered, play-based learning as the most rigorous and most developmentally appropriate way for children in the early childhood grade levels to learn.
- Allows early childhood educators to create learning environments that are developmentally appropriate and involve play-based learning opportunities that focus on movement, creative expression, exploration, socialization, art and music.
- Directs school districts to provide ongoing early childhood professional development opportunities for early childhood educators and administrators, which may include existing professional development programs from the State Department of Education.
Rosecrants views the act as a positive for students and also school districts.
“The teacher shortage is felt sharpest in the early childhood grade levels,” Rosecrants said. “By letting prospective early childhood teachers know that they can teach kids the way they were taught to teach them, this legislation can be part of the solution to Oklahoma’s teacher retention problem.”
The legislation passed the House last session but stalled due to COVID. Rosecrants hopes the new group of legislators see the same value in the legislation that the previous group did.
“This is a good piece of legislation that will benefit thousands of Oklahoma school children per year,” Rosecrants said. “I am optimistic that this body will agree and pass this legislation, but we still don’t want to take anything for granted.”
Rosecrants encourages anyone who supports play-based learning to call or email their legislators in support of House Bill 1569.