Have you ever told your child to “Go Play!” Did you know that you are creating learning opportunities by letting them play? In the past, play was viewed as a frivolous activity that is done between important stuff like learning and working. Recently, extensive research on child development supports the link between play and learning.
Why should we let kids play? Play is how children experience their world and bring meaning to it. Play gives kids a chance to be kids. “A child’s ability to fully and freely engage in play is essential to their learning, productivity, and overall development,” observe Steve Gross and Rebecca Cornelli Sanderson in their article, “Play is the Way,” in the September/October 2012 Exchange magazine. They continue:
“A natural drive to play is universal across all young mammals. Children from every society on earth spend time playing. Why? Because play is a crucial vehicle for exploring and learning, developing new skills, and connecting with others. From an infant’s first smile to a preschooler’s careful construction of a tower, children use play to engage with and learn about their world. Play has key neurological, cognitive, socio-emotional, and physiological benefits for children’s health. Most importantly, play is the way in which children form loving, trusting relationships.”
What do children learn through play?
- Play nurtures creativity and problem-solving skills
- Play promotes a healthy body – both physically and emotionally
- Play stimulates healthy brain development
- Play allows children to gain skills that help them feel good about themselves
- Play teaches social norms, social skills and how to treat others
- Play helps children develop good interpersonal skills
At Alpha’s Preschool Academy, we understand that play is an essential element to the learning process. Our ECE teachers facilitate learning through play experiences – both planned and unplanned on a daily basis. We create a rich environment with building materials, puzzles, manipulatives, art and sensory materials and encourage lots of interaction between peers.
So next time you tell your child to “Go Play”, be aware that you are giving them endless opportunities to learn, explore and discover their world.