I love the word “play.” I don’t like the word “work.” They can mean the same thing though! I am aware that “play” can be an irritating word for certain Montessori schools.
Some Montessori schools use the word “work” for playing, or just learning. Parents have told me that their preschool children are burned out “doing work” at their Montessori school! I couldn’t believe a two year old was already stressed out by “work”!
During Montessori student teaching and training we were taught to let children pick out an activity, not to call it “work.” In fact, we didn’t call it anything in particular. Statements like, “Would you like to try this?” worked very well.
I think we are such a workaholic society that we have missed something in the translation of Montessori’s idea for hands on, joyful learning. Learning, playing and working should be fun. Children seem to know that playing is a child’s work.