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January Blog 2024: Play

January 10, 2024

January Blog 2023

Importance of Play

Play is the work of the child” Maria Montessori

Evidence suggests that those with early years experiences focused on play do better in the long run. They become self- regulated learners, able to take charge of their own learning.

“Play is the highest form of research” Albert Einstein

Children have an innate desire and drive to learn. They want to make sense of their experiences. How do they do this? Through play. Learning for the child comes from making sense from the inside and emerges from the child’s current ideas and explorations.

In play, children are active in their own learning. Early brain development in babies is enhanced through sensory play. Relationships are nurtured, building feelings of empathy, collaboration, and creativity.

Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood, for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child’s soul.

Friedrich Froebel

Being willing to have a go reinforces the role of play in enabling children to follow their interests and initiate activities. Through their play, children can seek challenges, develop a can-do attitude, are open to taking risks in new experiences, and develop an attitude that views failures not as setbacks, but as learning opportunities.

  • Give the child plenty of experiences and opportunities.
  • Have quality interactions with your child in play.
  • Have faith in play.
  • Do not give children too much choice.
  • Create good play habits.
  • Let children concentrate in play, don’t interrupt.
  • Boredom is good, it can be a component of creativity.

Vygotsky (1978) spoke of the zone of proximal development, as children increase what they can do without help from an adult. Children progressed from being supported to learning new skills and solving problems, they moved on to work unaided, extending and building on their knowledge and learning, extending what he called their zone of proximal development.

What a child can do today with adult support, they will be able to do for themselves tomorrow. Children must be provided with opportunities to experiment and explore independently.

  • Play is practice for real life experience. Playing with possibilities. Children are naturally curious and will investigate.
  • Never underestimate the power of play to encourage development in every area of learning.
  • Play is a very important activity in the development of speech and language skills.
  • Do not put too much pressure on the child to always talk. Remember, talking is a two-way process and in each of the activities suggested, it is best if you take your turn too, with talking and taking part in activities.
  • Always accept a child’s attempt at words, showing you have understood before repeating the word correctly.

 

Play builds flexible minds and an enquiring spirit. The act of playing is always more important than the outcome. This is a child’s way of understanding their world.

 

“For a small child there is no division between playing and learning; between the things he/she does just for fun and things that are educational. The child learns while living and any part of living that is enjoyable is also play.” Penelope Leach