Children have a natural desire to learn. Play allows children to follow their instincts.
Play can take many forms. Most importantly, play is fun. But it is also engaging, meaningful and rewarding. Research has shown that play improves children’s education outcomes. Play builds motor skills, cognitive skills, social skills and emotional skills.
Learning through play can provide children with a welcome break from screen time. Electronic devices are great tools for keeping students connected to the classroom. But it is important for children (and their teachers) to take screen breaks. Talk with your colleagues for ideas on how to set screen-free activities for your students.
Online safety is something we all need to stay on top of too. Check out the office of the Safety Commissioner here for some useful tips.
We think of play as an expression of freedom, it is about what the child has chosen to do as opposed to what they may be obliged to do. When a child determines what they want to play they are fostering creativity and flexibility in thinking. They are not encumbered with the right or wrong way. – Fiona Ireland, Kindergarten Director
Play is a crucial part of children’s learning and development. It provides the ideal context for children to learn. Play-based learning is a key element of Australia’s Early Years Learning Framework. Play-based learning programs allow children to learn through inquiry, exploration and discovery. In play-based programs, children can become immersed in topics that interest them. Children are offered opportunities to initiate play and teachers guide and extend the play to facilitate learning.
Play based learning can take place through free play or guided play and can happen indoors or outside. In each case, the key is that children take the lead and are supported, but not directed, by their educators. Educators can support learning through play by observing children in play, asking questions and prompting children to expand their thinking and extend their abilities. Positive play experiences foster children’s desire to know and learn.