The complex world of pre-K play

SEATTLE — On a bright October morning, two dozen 4- and 5-year-olds were scattered around a classroom at Impact Salish Sea Elementary in south Seattle, enthralled by plastic food, dolls, blocks and clay. In the center of the room, four children buzzed around a wooden play kitchen, mixing various pretend food items in pots and pans.

“I’m making chocolate cupcakes,” proclaimed Rosa, age 5. A few feet away, Jordyn, 4, was carefully washing plastic dishes in a bright red sink filled with water, before drying them off with a blue towel. When their teacher, Shareece DeLeon, took a seat at a pint-sized table in the middle of the kitchen, the children paused and turned to look.

“Our customer is here!” one student proclaimed. 

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