Children playing is such a simple notion that the important role it plays in children’s learning can be easily overlooked. Although for at least a century adults suspected play was important, it was truly recognised in the early 1960s by the Psychologist Jean Piaget.
Piaget documented that play is the main way children develop in every way- intellectually, physically, socially and emotionally.
Play helps children make sense of their world. This is why home corners, car garages, construction toys and dressing up are such popular play activities- they provide children with the avenue through which to recreate their world and have influence over it. This is also useful in cases where children might feel anxious about a situation in their life- they can act it out and make sense of their feelings.
Children’s play has been found to move through several stages according to age:
Solitary (up to 2 years)
Spectator (2-3 years)
Parallel (3 plus)
Associative (4-5 years)
Cooperative 5 years plus.
These are broad age categories as every child is different.
When children are moving through parallel and associative stages parents often consider enrolling their child in a Pre Kindy program because they can see that their child is now ready to play more actively with other children. Through play with others children learn life long skills of co-operation, turn taking, negotiation, and conflict resolution.
In Playful Learners Pre Kindy we not only provide opportunities for social learning but use play to underpin all of our learning outcomes. Our Early Childhood Teacher Anita, uses play and children’s natural creativity to develop the activities that teach pre-literacy, pre-numeracy, colour recognition, science and arts just to name a few! This is called guided play.
At Pre Kindy we also provide plenty of opportunity for child-led play which is spontaneous, and we build upon it feed into our program. For example our children love to pretend in the kitchen area so we organised an outing to our local coffee shop for a babychino! This activities provides opportunities to learn about social interactions, using money, having fun and engaging with their local community. Not to mention enjoying the best babychino and cookies in town!
The most important part of any play based learning is make sure children and having fun. Activities need to be planned to provide learning outcome and to make sure children are having lots of fun along the way!