In A Moral Case for Play: The Urgency of Advancing Moral Ecologies of Play in K-12 Schools, Levingston argues that schools must make room for character-building play because of its essential role in moral development. He utilizes field-based research, including interviews and observations from hallways, classrooms, playgrounds and lunchrooms at Catholic, Jewish, Progressive, Quaker, single-gender, and other non-sectarian schools. Levingston's timely new insights and explanations of the moral ecologies of play build on and intersect with the work of anthropologists, fellow educators and education-researchers, folklorists, medical researchers, psychologists, and STEAM educators. This book demonstrates that beyond physical and social play at recess, students need to engage in role-playing, along with language, number, kinesthetic, and imaginative play. Offering a new definition of play, Levingston's research shows how schools can create unique ecologies that promote moral growth, creativity, and a sense of community in any academic program.
Rabbi Judd Kruger Levingston is Director of Jewish Studies and Advisor to the Derech Eretz Honor Council at Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy.
Chapter 1: Play, Moral Education and Character Education
Chapter 2: Recess Is Over, But Don’t Stop Playing! Research Methodology, Research Sites, and Three Moral Ecologies of Play
Chapter 3: How Can I Catch the Kids’ Attention? Conceding, Cautious, and Complementary Uses of Play in Class
Chapter 4: What Brings the Curriculum to Life and What Makes it Relevant?
Chapter 5: Character-Building and Character-Driven Play
Chapter 6: Co-Curricular Play: Religious spaces, electives, physical education, advisory and disciplinary systems
Chapter 7: Recess and Shared Moral Spaces; Dress and Gender
Chapter 8: From Playing to Belonging: The Essential Role of Schools in Setting the Stage
Appendix: Questions for Discussion
About the Author
A Moral Case For Play is expansive and penetrating in revealing play’s links to “expressive morality” and student agency and identity. Children can flourish and deal with hardship when teachers use different play strategies to capture their imaginations. Our schools must be play-responsive as much as academic and intellectual and multicultural and inclusive. The author is a pioneer leading us with earnest strokes and joyful voice to consider play’s values and uses in moral and character development for which he is master and champion.
In a time when God and play are marginalized in the school setting, Rabbi Levingston makes a compelling case for the reestablishment of both in A Moral Case for Play in K-12 Schools: The Urgency of Advancing Moral Ecologies of Play.