Standards, accountability and testing are seemingly the buzzwords of the educational system in the first few years of the twenty-first century. With so much emphasis on these, why should play be considered equally important?
First, research offers multiple data and references that clearly show play as a crucial component of learning. Children in all cultures play, play builds a foundation for intelligence, and intelligence leads to success.
Walking into a typical 3-year-old room at EduKids Early Childhood Education Centers, you may encounter cowboys, scientists, cooks and builders: children playing dress-up, measuring and weighing found objects, solving problems of space and weight as they build towers and vehicles. Other children may be stringing patterns in bead necklaces, while a large group may be filling the play kitchen with a flurry of ordering, choosing, stirring, seating, serving and cleaning.
Cooperation, conversation and fun will be everywhere; little do the children know they are engaged in pre-reading, math, social studies, science, art…
With classroom play as a priority, choosing supporting materials that align with developmental interests and abilities is critical. Special needs, emergent interests and play progression are considerations that drive our choices.
With attention to each child, we are able to successfully provide classroom areas, materials and play scenarios that provide authentic language and skill building.
“Play allows children a combination of exploring new objects, practicing new skills , meeting new challenges – all these experiences stretch young children” –Jim Greenman & Anne Stonehouse, Prime Times, 1996, Readleaf Press
Make Learning Fun!
-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director