'Play To Learn Act' Advances To Full State Senate

Tuesday, March 23rd 2021, 6:26 pm


Some state lawmakers say Oklahoma children aren't playing enough in school.  

The so-called "Play to Learn Act” moved one step closer to the Governor's desk Tuesday. Supporters said fun and games play an important part in early childhood education. 

“I think we are pushing developmentally inappropriate standards on our very earliest learners,” Rep. Jacob Rosecrants, D-Norman said.  

House Bill 1569 by Rosecrants and Senator Adam Pugh, R-Edmond, encourages and protects pre-K through 3rd grade teachers using play-based learning. The list of “play” includes movement, creative expression, socialization, art, and music. 

“I am a huge fan of almost a conservative old-school idea of using your hands, playing with blocks, those type of things while staying within the standards,” Rosecrants, a former teacher said. 

The bill states, "a school district shall not prohibit a teacher from utilizing play-based learning." 

“They say we are taught to teach this way in our early childhood education classes and when we get to our sites, they don’t let us teach this way or they push a different way. So, we don’t feel like we have the freedom to do it,” Rosecrants said. 

He said curriculum has shifted down, meaning kindergarteners are now learning what was once first grade material, with preschoolers studying kindergarten topics. 

“You think you’re doing the right thing by making things more rigorous, I think that’s the idea, I think everything ‘s being pushed down, so ‘you make it harder, and the kids will try harder as well,’” Rosecrants said.

The bill cleared the full House of Representatives 76-16 and 10-2 Tuesday in the Senate Education Committee. News 9 and News On 6 reached out to the two senators who voted no but did hear back. 

“This is not a mandated piece, this is just a way to empower teachers to teach the way they know kids learn best,” Rosecrants said. 

The bill is now eligible to be heard before the full Senate.