Playing Is Educational!
Today we talk about the importance of play. The last sentence of the philosophy of PSA states: “We believe children learn best through play and the discovery of concepts that are a result of their own creativity.” There is great controversy in the educational arena over this subject because there is such a big push to increase the “academic” skills at younger and younger ages.
As stated in our philosophy, we believe that the power of play outweighs the drill and “kill” method of teaching letters, numbers, counting, reading and other skills that will come soon enough. Often times, those letters, numbers, etc., come through the play in which the children are involved.
Important kinds of play include the following:
Each of these activities include opportunities for the child’s growth such as:
- problem solving
- critical thinking
- social interaction
- language development
- cognitive growth
During pretend play, a children are creating a scenario in their mind. They may be using pieces from a story that caught their imagination, or from a real-life situation which they have experienced. Often they will be engaging other children in their play. If they are creating a story about a trip to Grandpa and Grandma’s home, they may set out by first packing their suitcase filled with doll clothes, and getting in a car which they may have created out of cardboard boxes outfitted with a pizza tray for a steering wheel. The seats of the car may be large blocks from the block are, or even a couple of their little chairs. They may create buildings with large blocks en route. Possibly, the grandparents live on a farm, so they may construct a farm using some of the small animals they have set aside. During this play, the children are problem solving – “How do I build my car?”; using critical thinking skills to decide what animals will be on the farm – “Would there be a tiger on the farm in Vermont?”; socially interacting when they invite another child to join them; increasing their use of language as they talk through the various aspects of their play.
All these are contributing to the children’s cognitive development as they put it all together. They may have drawn a map where they have labeled places along the way (literacy), they may have to pay a toll (math) on the highway. Every aspect of this pretend play has children thinking out of the box to create aspects that will carry them through much of their future academic development, while also building fond memories.
The really exciting thing about this kind of play is that it takes very simple, everyday objects and simple, basic toys to create this rich learning environment. Happy playing!
Here is a Link that addresses the importance of play.
http://www.zerotothree.org is a very helpful place, particularly for parents of infants and toddlers.