Learning Through Play
Before you start worrying about your child’s education, every parent needs to understand the importance of play both in brain development and as a means to learn. Multiple studies have shown that play-based learning is one of the most effective means to educate a child. In fact, in early childhood, play and learning should not be separate.
What is child’s play?
If you consider the best action of play to be sitting with a child and entertaining them, think again. Play can be enjoyable but it can also be challenging and even frustrating for a child. But keep in mind that enjoyment is the key driver. Play does not have to involve anything tangible or material. Pretending or fantasy is a great means to expand imagination. Imaginative thoughts or ideas may exist within the child and are not necessarily known or shared with the parent or educator. Play can also be active and that means not just physical but mental or verbal participation via engagement with the environment. Play should be voluntary, even if that requires an invitation to play. It’s not play for the child if they do not want to participate. Play can be self motivating. Playing alone is still play and should not be considered less rewarding for the child than play with others.
Early Childhood Development
The act of play builds the neural pathways of the brain and the brain’s plasticity for greater learning capacity as the child grows. Play involves the skills of exploration, negotiation, risk taking, imagination and creating. These skills also contribute to the development of a good memory and ultimately better performance at school. In summary, play provides the groundwork for the brain’s structural design.
Other Skills and Benefits for Your Child
General health and wellbeing is improved with play because play raises optimism and curiosity. Physical activity also allows the child to develop motor skills and energetic play releases endorphins, further increasing general well being. Social activity is also an important aspect of play with others, whether it’s adults or children. This helps a child learn to resolve conflict, negotiate problems in groups, make choices with concern for wider implications, learn empathy, and generally moderate their behaviour with others in mind.
How to Help Encourage Quality Play at Home
Listen to your child and discover their interests and adapt the home for play sessions with this in mind. The home play checklist to consider:
- Use the home’s physical environment to create a space that promotes play such as arranging furniture and other features of the home and garden to entice and promote play. These can be fixed items or a dynamic approach of moving furniture and household items.
- Make sure the home feels secure so the child can play confidently and without influences or factors in the house that may make the child feel uncomfortable or constrained in play.
- Allocate large amounts of time for play; allowing them time to become fully engrossed in games and projects.
- Don’t underestimate the power of conversation in play. Studies have shown long conversations are a very effective element of good childhood education. To promote conversation during play, ask questions that will promote a child’s understanding and learning.
Eskay Kids Early Childhood Play Program
Early childhood centres, like Eskay, that have play-based learning programs have integrated certain aspects of play prompted on the latest research regarding early childhood education. This includes the following. At Eskay this includes the following:
Indoor and Outdoor Activity
The incorporation of a daily routine of both indoor and outdoor active play.
At times, educators are engaged in physical activity to a moderate to high level, reflecting the same level of physical energy as the children.
Music and Movement
The use of music, movement and other creative expression on a daily basis.
For a tour of one of our Eskay early learning centres contact us today:
07 3823 1145
39 Holland Crescent, Capalaba QLD 4157
07 3381 8882
6 Community Place, Springfield QLD 4300
07 3201 1145
36-38 Collage Road, Mount Crosby QLD 4306