Why is learning through play a concept most discussed in early childhood education? What is play-based learning? Before we discuss the benefits of learning through play, we look at some research on play-based learning. Researchers have focused on the benefits of play for children ages two and a half through seven.
Learning Through Play
As children play, they learn about themselves and the world around them. There is extensive discussion and research on play-based learning. In a 2008 study by Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, Ingrid Pramling Samuelsson explains that young children do not separate play from learning unless influenced by an adult.
Adults consider learning and play separate activities, while young children do not distinguish a difference between play and learning. We can use this information to help children in child care centers by offering learning through play activities.
#1: Play Encourages Imagination
Play can incorporate make-believe activities which foster imagination. To adults, imagination seems as if it may only be a way to entertain children. On the contrary, imagination may be the answer to finding the cure for cancer or ending world hunger.
#2: Pretend Play Improves Language Skills
One of the benefits of learning through play is an improvement in language skills. As children play, they use their words to give life to toys or narrate their activities. Play time gives kids the opportunity to practice their language skills in a low-pressure environment.
#3: Play Fosters Social Skills
When children play together, they are practicing social skills. Pretend play can help children with their communication, empathy, and problem solving. Children who play in preschool will have stronger social skills. This can mean an easier transition into the classroom when it comes time for kindergarten and elementary school!
#4: Play Encourages Cognitive Development
When your child pretends to be a doctor or plays house, your child is also working on memory, decision making, and problem solving. These skills are part of cognitive development, or how your child thinks and understands the world around him or her.
#5: Play Improves Perceptual-Motor Skills
What are perceptual-motor skills? This term describes how your child uses his or her senses and motor skills to interact with the surrounding environment. Play builds sensory skills and perceptual skills at the same time.
#6: Play Time Helps Kids Focus
Children can focus better in classes when they receive breaks. Building breaks for physical and pretend play can set that structure at an early age.
#7: Play Helps Grownups Understand Kids Better
Play is an important activity at child care centers. Adults can learn about each child while supervising playtime. Adults get a better sense of how each child sees the world and solves problems. This can help the grownups know which tactics to use to teach each child.
Learning Through Play with Evanston and Chicago Day Care Centers
At Toddler Town Daycare and Toddler Town Daycare Too, we foster learning through play with indoor and outdoor activities. We know that play can help children build fine and gross motor skills and well as cognitive skills. We incorporate age-appropriate activities in our classrooms to encourage imagination and social interaction!
Contact us to enroll your child at Toddler Town Daycare in Evanston or Toddler Town Daycare Too in Chicago!