Preschool must work to better understand the role of play in the lives of young children, and how to nurture and utilize play with children. (Koralek, 2004) Play is important to the academic environment. The school focuses on social, emotional and cognitive development of children. Through play, children learn to adjust in the school setting and get ready to learn. Children develop problem-solving skills and social-emotional skills which are integrated with academic learning.
Children’s thinking skills in science can be enhanced through quality interaction. Through exploration, children will develop knowledge and understanding in different areas of knowledge in a holistic way. For young children the most effective roles involve the educators as a facilitator of learning rather than a presenter of knowledge. An exploratory approach can be looked upon as a form of discovery learning in which the educators and child negotiate an experience for the child, which is later evaluated by both of them (Rowland, 1984).
The first principle holistic learning and development illustrates that all learning and development interacts with and is dependent on each other and that children don’t learn in isolation. When children acquire a new skill learning incorporates more than one area of development (Hayes, 2005; NCCA, 2009). Holistic learning and development instils curiosity and motivates children to learn. To support a child’s holistic learning one must provide a meaningful play environment that builds on children’s strengths and experiences. Central to this principle is the significance of observing and interacting with the child and intervening when appropriate to extend children’s learning and help them to make connections (DCCC, 2012).
There are different types of learning and different methods to teach children in play. The way an educator develops his/her curriculum based on play effects the way he/she teaches. There are many ways to incorporate play in each of the subjects that children should know. Play is incredibly important in the development of a child. Wilson quotes Piaget in stating, “Play is the work of childhood, and how young people learn and develop schema about the world” (p.144).
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.
Early childhood is a time of curiosity, a time for play, and a time of rapid development. Every child is unique and deserving of an early childhood education that facilitates academic, social, and developmental growth through a variety of enjoyable experiences. Differentiated instruction adapts content, products and processes to meet the diverse learning needs and preferences of students (Thousand, Villa, & Nevin, 2007). Friedrich Froebel, the creator of Kindergarten, believed that children grow and learn as they play (Bruno, 2009). Play-based instruction not only enables young learners to have fun, but it also encourages interactive and cooperative learning, passion for discovery, and a foundation for later learning experiences (Moore & Campos, 2010).
Although, many decision makers such as legislators and school district leaders believe in more academic types of learning styles, my paper will discuss why play is so powerful and important to children. The book, Exploring Your role in Early Childhood Education, defines play as, “any activity that is freely chosen, meaningful, active, enjoyable, and open-ended.”(pg. 140) Play has many positive characteristics such as freedom to explore and create. Suppose when a child enters his/her classroom and has various self-selection activities available, the child can become engaged in something of interest specifically to that individual child. The book also states, “Play is active and is natural process of mentally and actively doing something.”(pg.
Young children are growing up in a technology environment. It is within this environment that traditional concepts of play are being influenced. Early childhood settings reflect children’s environments therefore the introduction of technology would be a natural consequence. Play is central to children’s development and learning, consequently technology play is influential. To benefit children’s development and learning, technology play has to be inclusive and developmentally appropriate with attention to technology placement while ensuring the learning is curriculum based.
Play is a freely chosen and personally directed behaviour that actively engages children. It is very important that early years practitioners have a good grasp on this subject as the developmental usefulness of play for a child is extremely significant. For children, play provides them with the necessary skills to develop: socially, emotionally, physically and creatively. Bruce (2004) explores the fact that play is a valuable tool for children to discover their environment and to learn about why things happen using all of their senses both indoors and outdoors. The hypothesis that will be discussed throughout this essay is how play is important in early development and learning and how it serves both the child’s individual needs and the future society in which they will live in.
The learning process for a child can be traced back as far as their environment during the early stages of life. Play is imperative for the reason that it assists in the education of a child and their world in an approach that is natural. Play education allows educators to go with