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Early Childhood

How One North Carolina District Leader Put Play First

By Lillian Mongeau — February 26, 2016 1 min read
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Among the 2016 Leaders to Learn From that Education Week announced this week, Steve Oates is the early learning guy of the bunch. As a district leader in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, N.C., schools, Oates has made engaging classrooms for young learners a priority.

Oates got into education as a 2nd and 1st grade teacher and discovered early that his students learned more and retained more when they were fully engaged in what they were doing. Often, that meant playing, not doing worksheets.

“It’s really not just about play,” Oates said. “It’s about designing highly engaging learning environments for children that are guided by developmentally appropriate instruction.”

Read more about how he’s worked with teachers and principals to accomplish that goal and watch a video of what goes down in his district’s early elementary classrooms.

Photo: Steve Oates (Jason Arthurs for Education Week)

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Early Years blog.