Child Learning Through Play

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Children have a natural inclination to play, alongside a natural instinct to learn and to be curious and inventive, which are characteristics of the human race in general. This quote taken from Janet Moyles is a good starting point for this essay. It is well known that children love to play. If a child were to be left to his/her own devices they would happily play and create new worlds anywhere they were left. It has been well documented and researched that children learn excellently through play. However they are not always given the opportunity to do so, instead being told to, ‘finish your work and then you can go play’. Obviously this is not always the case, but the fact that it is a common practice shows that we do not all fully appreciate the importance of play to children’s learning. This essay will attempt to show how children learn through play, making reference to current theory and practice. I will also give examples from my own first-hand experience of how children learn and develop as people through play. Julie Fisher (1996) suggests that young children learn by ‘being active’, ‘organising their own learning experiences’, ‘using language’ and ‘interacting with others’. I would agree with this statement up to a point. However, she does not mention if the activities should be structured. While I agree that children will learn from being active through a process of trial and improvement, I believe that with older children it would be a lot more beneficial to give the child a structure build upon. For example, before I began this PCGE course, I used to train my local under eleven Gaelic Football team. Say for instance they had never played before and they turned up to training at 7:00 but the training was not until 7... ... middle of paper ... ...ctive. Play is an essential learning tool and one that must not be ignored within the classroom. It is a catalyst to help children develop socially, emotionally, physically and cognitively. It is not only an important part of a child’s development as a pupil but also a child’s development as an individual. Works Cited • Moyles, J (2007) Beginning Teaching Beginning Learning in Primary Education, 3rd ed. London: Open University Press • Doherty, J and Hughes, M (2009) Child Development: Theory and Practice 0-11, Essex: Pearson Education Ltd • Kyriacou, C. (2001) Effective Teaching in Schools: Theory and Practice, 2nd ed. Nelson Thornes Ltd. • Drake, J. (2005) Planning Children’s play and learning in the foundation stage, 2nd ed. London: David Fulton Publishers Ltd. • Moyles, J. (2005) The Excellence of Play, 2nd edition, London: Open University Press

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