Monday, 11 May 2015

Play is the work of the child

Have you ever observed a toddler engrossed in play? The child can be seen to display exceptional motivation, concentration and perseverance. What may seem to some as time-biding activities are, in fact, a child’s inner scientist at work exploring the world around them.

A child learns best through playing that is not entirely unstructured but combined with a certain amount of informed guidance and structure. Guided playtime can open up boundless avenues for young children, such as preschoolers, to learn key social, emotional, cognitive and pre-academic skills.

What follows is a list of the several ways in which different forms of play can benefit a preschooler.

·  Exploring nature

Children are naturally curious about the world around them. Scientific research shows that children who spend time exploring nature are more focused and healthier.

As an example, Williamsburg Northside Preschool in Brooklyn, New York, lays emphasis on letting children engage with and express themselves through natural materials such as rocks, sticks, pinecones and cotton wool. The range of natural materials that can be used is unlimited and offers children the opportunity to discover and create.

·  Music and dance

Music and dance offer children the opportunity for sensory explorations and for expressing themselves. It also helps children have joyous and meaningful social interactions with their peers and adults.

·  Dramatic play

Dramatic play is yet another play way teaching method that hones preschoolers’ ability to symbolize their experiences, express themselves, develop social skills and modulate their emotions.

The Williamsburg Northside Preschool mentioned above is also known to utilize dramatic play, for instance. Dramatic play is utilized at the school as a means for the child to develop their linguistic skills, comprehension abilities, cooperativeness and empathy.

·  Pretend play

The importance of pretend play in a child’s life cannot be overstated. Pretend play is the mark of a child’s budding ability to hold two versions of reality in their mind at one time. Pretend play has been shown to be an important precursor to developing ‘theory of mind’ or the understanding that other people have individualistic thoughts and feelings responsible for motivating their behaviors.

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