This is a sponsored guest post.
Children love to play. In fact, if you take a second to pause and consider what you like doing the most you’ll realize that play is an important part of life, regardless of your age. The only real difference is that the type of play you engage in changes.
But what may surprise you is that the amount of play children do, especially when at a reputable early learning centre. It can, and should, seem like a lot of fun. But, play is actually essential to the proper development of your child.
How Play Affects Your Child
When your child plays they are engaging with others, this means they are developing the social skills they’ll need to make the most of life. They are also improving their emotional skills and preparing their brains for more learning.
In fact, the process of going to early education is a great way of getting your child used to the learning process, this will help to ensure they are paying attention in class as they move through the school years.
It will also ensure they absorb the necessary information and make the most of their education.
How Play Is Integrated Into Learning
Of course, forcing children to play is not going to stimulate any of their emotional or physical needs, that’s why play needs to be naturally integrated into your child’s daily activities, especially at the early learning centre.
The integration of play into learning should start from the moment your child is born, but it does need a different approach depending on their age.
The Early Years
The first two years of a child’s life are when the brain forms its neural connections. The key at this stage is to provide an environment that is protective and loving. It should also be rich in experiences. This means that playing for as much of the day as possible is a good thing.
Simply encourage your child to play with different objects, it will boost their neural growth. It will also help them to feel secure in themselves and be ready to move onto the next stage.
3-5 Years Old
This, in many ways, is the most critical part of the process and when you need expert help! During this period language, cognitive functions, and social/emotional skills are developed. The skills that start to build here will be instrumental throughout your child’s life.
Integrating play during this stage involves allowing children to choose their own activity but limiting the choices to ensure that the necessary skills are being learned and reinforced.
The trick here is for the teacher to understand how play can be related to basic learning concepts. For example, building a tower of blocks will allow the teacher to mention the concept of gravity and introduce counting by telling the child how many blocks have been used.
The emphasis at this stage is on the teacher informing the child but not forcing them to learn, this is known as passive learning and is surprisingly effective.
In fact, that’s the real secret to integrating play into learning, the focus is play, learning should never be noticed at pre-school age.