Playful Literacy: Finding and Sharing Our Stories

Playful Literacy: Finding and Sharing Our Stories

Welcome! I’m so glad you’ve joined us.

Educators who have attended Opal School events often tell us that they want a community of people to continue to be in dialogue with as they go back to their own settings to explore some of the ideas that we started unpacking when we were together. This course aims to be a place where that community of inquiry, research, and sharing can happen.

Visiting Opal School is not a prerequisite for this course, however, it helps to know (if you don’t already) that we believe in a social-constructivist theory of learning – for all people not just children. Throughout this course, we’ll be constructing new ideas together – which means you won’t be fed curriculum to try, lessons to implement, or a script to follow. Instead, you’ll be asked to show up with your own thinking, your own ideas and questions, as you try things out, reflect on, and share stories from your own classroom with this community of peers who are doing the same.

Although knowledge of early literacy skills is critical information for educators to have, this course is not designed to teach you about specific skills or skill development. Instead, this course will explore Playful Literacy, an approach to literacy instruction my colleagues and I have been developing at Opal School. Because Playful Literacy is based on our own research and experiences with children in our Preschool-5th-grade classrooms, it is ever changing and evolving.


Playful Literacy includes four elements, which we will explore in depth throughout the course:

Ample Use of the Arts

A Focus on Meaning Making

Sharing Stories and

Time to Play

This course will be a space where you can read stories and articles related to the elements of Playful Literacy that will provoke you to reflect upon what you are doing in your own setting. To question your own intentions. To ask yourself hard questions like: Why am I doing this? How am I choosing to spend my time? What else could I be doing? What’s working? What’s not working? Why? What’s my role?


  • An understanding of how we’ve come to define Playful Literacy, including the four elements of Playful Literacy, based on experiences we’ve had and researched as colleagues at Opal School.
  • An invitation to reflect deeply on your own experiences in your own setting. Time to observe in your own setting and consider how these elements might influence what you are paying attention to, the way you plan, and how your students engage and respond.
  • A chance to experiment with these four elements of Playful Literacy in your own setting. To be provoked and take action in your own practice.


You can expect to spend about two hours per week with these resources and invitations, with additional resources available to explore when you find the time and reason to do so. I would like to encourage you to find a rhythm that works for you and to work at your own pace.