Albert Einstein termed play as the highest form of research. During play children go through a number of experiences and experiments. These interactions help in their cognitive development, social development, emotional development, language development, physical development, creativity and imagination.
Play based activities act as a catalyst for the process of learning. Schools today have incorporated this important element as a tool for teaching/learning. Realising the effectiveness of this approach the Early Childhood Education teachers now prefer to use manipulative material in their classrooms. Using material such as play-dough, Lego-blocks etc., which the children can explore in different ways, fosters creativity.
Role-plays and pretend plays promote critical thinking and help children learn problem solving skills. Various activities held in classrooms provide opportunities for children to acquire knowledge in an environment that is conducive to learning. An example of this could be learning about the process of germination. Instead of just listening and reading about the process, children are actively engaged as little gardeners who go out and plant a seed and then watch it grow. Such settings lower inhibition and motivate children to try different ideas based on their interest. Collaboration resulting from pair and group tasks promotes the development of social skills.
Play is often viewed by parents as an immature act which children do as an unimportant task
which lacks any serious purpose. It is time that parents recognize that this is not the case,
remember they are their children’s first playmates and make the time to be involved in their
children’s play time.
Their role is to provide appropriate material and safe environment for indoor and outdoor play
and model the behaviours that should be displayed during play. This may involve discussions
about rules, taking turns, respecting others’ choices, cleaning up, and caring for those who are
hurt. The most important role in facilitating a child in their play for parents is to play along.
Playing with your child will give them the freedom to participate, express and imagine!
Teaching Learning Unit