House Sends Oklahoma Play to Learn Act to Governor

Mike Seals - May 6, 2021 11:01 pm

State Rep. Jacob Rosecrants

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma early childhood teachers may soon have another tool in their educational tool belt as the Oklahoma Play To Learn Act passed the House on Wednesday with overwhelming support.

The Oklahoma Play to Learn Act (HB1569), authored by Rep. Jacob Rosecrants, D-Norman, declares the Legislature’s intent to focus on the importance of child-centered, play-based learning as the most developmentally appropriate way for young children to learn.

“We know students learn in a variety of ways,” Rosecrants said. “The Oklahoma Play to Learn Act will empower our teachers to reach more students, which is ultimately good for the student and the state.”

The measure also authorizes educators to create learning environments that promote movement, creative expression, exploration, socialization, and reading for pleasure, among other things.

“Play is a child’s innate way of learning and a natural avenue to discover new things and generate questions from the environment around them,” said Rep. Mike Dobrinski, R-Okeene. “It was fascinating to witness the development of our quadruplets in their earliest formative years together. I am glad my daughter now loves her career in early childhood education and is a huge advocate for play-based learning.”

Additionally, HB1569 allows school districts to provide ongoing early childhood professional development for teachers and administrators, which may include existing State Department of Education professional development programs. Lastly, the measure prohibits a school district from preventing a teacher from utilizing play-based learning in early childhood education, which will empower early childhood educators to teach children the way they were taught to teach.

“Play-to-learn methodologies foster the development of imagination, curiosity, and enthusiasm in students, which we know from research, leads to innovation and critical thinking skills,” said Rep. Meloyde Blancett, D-Tulsa. “Our workforce pipeline desperately needs students who come out of our education system with the skills to meet the demands of our 21st Century economy. Play-to-learn is a great step in achieving this.”

After three years of work with education advocates, teachers, and students, The Oklahoma Play-to-Learn Act is heading to the Governor’s desk.

“This is as much a pro-teacher bill as it is a pro-student bill,” Rosecrants said. “Our teachers want to reach these students, and we, as a state, need to move out of their way and let them. It would be a great end to Teacher Appreciation Week to see this bill become law.”

Constituents of House District 46 can reach Rep. Jacob Rosecrants at (405) 557-7329 or email [email protected]

House Bill 1569

 

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