In today’s preschool culture, the role and value of play is very important for children; a rich environment filled with playmates, opportunities to learn how to share, take turns, self-regulate, and make life-long friends only scratches the surface of why play is central for children’s development. Parents aren’t seeing what is happening: what they see as random play is actually being utilized to help the child grow socially, emotionally, and physically. Parents believe that children should be spending more time working at an academic level instead of spending their time playing with blocks, puzzles, or being with friends.
Play is an important part of emotional-social development. Play can act as a way for children to reveal their innermost feelings and express thought. As defined by the text, play is “voluntary activities done for enjoyment or recreation that are not performed for any sake beyond themselves.” Children move through different levels of play as they mature. One form of play which scientists have become increasingly interested in is imaginative play. With imagination children learn how to be creative. Many children between ages 3-5 create imaginary friends for themselves.
Childhood play is an important part of every child’s development. This behavior starts in infancy, they begin to explore their world through play. Play behavior serves as an indicator of the child’s cognitive and social development. Research on play and development is essential to helping caregivers understand the importance of childhood play. I will be focusing on the psychological aspects of childhood play behavior and its relation to cognitive development.
Around the world children are able to express their creativity daily through the medium of play. Children play everywhere, at home, outside, at parks, at school, and many other places. This activity is enjoyable yet at the same time children learn how to solve problems, cooperate, take turns, and get along with others without even realizing that they are learning. Additionally, they develop motor skills such as climbing, running, grasping, and balancing all while participating in various types of play. Authors, Gordon and Browne state “Through play, children learn about the world: what color purple is, how to make matzo balls, and how to be a friend” (120). Therefore, play is not only fun for the child; it can also become a learning experience.
An Article by Dr. Leong and Dr. Bodrova (2016) stated that play is beneficial to children’s learning especially when it reaches a certain degree of complexity. When they engage in play activities most of their early years, they learn to delay gratification and to prioritize their goals and actions. They also learn to consider the perspectives and needs of other people and to represent things significantly to regulate their behavior and actions in a cautious, intentional way.
Through the use of teacher directed and student initiated activities, students become more engaged in learning and therefore develop the skills necessary to become self-directed learners. By stimulating their interest and motivating a love for learning, teachers can use preschool curricula to build school- and life-related skills. There have been links between play and child development, especially in the areas of creativity, reasoning, executive function, and regulation of emotions (Bodrova, Germeroth, & Leong 2103). Active play is needed for healthy brain growth and not only strengthens muscles, but stimulates brain activity leading to higher levels of interest and curiosity. Through play children are able to try out different ways to handle and address stressful or hurtful situations and stand strong when facing challenging situations. Play enhances children’s memories and attention spans and allows children to connect their ideas into realities and realities into deeper understandings. Play supports children’s language development by improving their verbalization and receptive/expressive vocabularies. Using preschool curricula to build school- and life-related skills is a great practice as long as it is developmentally
Play is instrumental in the healthy development of children. The development of play throughout an individual life is essential in providing the necessary methods to foster growth and development in critical developmental areas. According to Davies (2011), play is instrumental in providing a bridge for the child to transition from a toddler with a limited capacity to understand the world into a child in the middle years who can think logically. Play is also important in fostering cognitive development, social development, language and communication, moral development, self-regulation, and sense identity.
What is play? Is it an activity one does for enjoyment? Is it an essential learning tool? The answer is that there is no definite answer. There are professionals who have studied play and formulated their own answers as to what play is. Some say it’s unstructured peer interactions, others say it’s structured interactions. Some say it’s a special and undefinable activity while others say it’s a basic life activity. The reason for the clear differences about what play is, is because play encompasses many different things and has many different forms. From the moment babies are born until the moment adults die, they all participate in some form of play, whether it be smiling at somebody 's movement, playing hide and seek, or participating in a sport or group. Although the definition of play is not definite, there is at least one definite thing about play. That is that play is an important and crucial part of any developmentally appropriate early childhood classroom and has unfortunately been reduced and replaced by standardized tests and teacher-based teaching and learning. Play is an enormously important tool that human beings use to help them learn new information and without it
Many theorists have tried to define play as a concept, however, no two agree on a set definition. Their backgrounds and induvial lifestyles influence the way they see the importance of play. Reed and Brown also believe that there isn’t an agreed definition of play because is something that is felt rather than done (Reed & Brown, 2000 cited in Brock, Dodd’s, Jarvis & Olusoga, 2009). In spite of this, it is clear that most theorists uphold the ethos that play is imperative to a child’s learning and development. There is a wide range of different studies and theories which helps us develop our own perception of what play is. In my personal experience I have found play to be a way of expressive our emotions, exploring and learning new things, thus
Before diving into my research, I reflected on the knowledge I already knew regarding play and play based learning. From experience, I know that play is an enjoyable activity for children, and even some adults. I know that there are different ways one can play. For example, playing with others is known as cooperative play and playing alone is considered solitary play. There are different types of play. For example, there is dress up or pretend games, which is considered dramatic, play and there is playing with building blocks which is constructive play. After my reflection I realized that I was more knowledgeable on the action of playing rather then the benefits of it.