Play is an important part of early childhood. Play is essential to the development of a child because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social and emotional wellbeing of children. It promotes the holistic development of a child.
Today’s children need to be well prepared to be tomorrow’s leaders. Play helps children develop new competencies that lead to enhanced confidence and resiliency that children will need to Face Future challenges.
Play however can often be overlooked. It’s important that our philosophy at Kidz Magic Early Learning Centre focuses on a play based curriculum and that our early childhood educators advocate the need to ensure play is protected as it balances a child’s lifestyle and is the optimal developmental milieu ( environment).
The importance of play is also listed in the United Nations Convention of the rights of the Child.
#7 Every child has the right to play and enjoy whenever they have the opportunity.
Play based learning is described in the EYLF as ‘a context For learning through which children organise and make sense of their social worlds, as they actively engage with people, objects and representations’ (EYLF, 2009, p.46). We are seeing the importance of play slowly diminishing, outside the Early Childhood Education and Care services.
Some of the contributing Factors to this in today’s society are:
- A hurried lifestyle
- An increased attention to academics Pressures of surrounding society
- Media coverage
- Use of technology -ipads, phones etc
With the ever-changing world we emphasize the importance of learning through play at our service. Taking play away and Focusing on clear cut experiences can have implications on children’s ability to store new information. The cognitive ability of clear cut experiences reduces the child’s ability to think outside the box and does not support their creativity and imagination to Flourish.
Through play children learn how to interact, take risks, play in small or large groups, negotiate, share, resolve conflicts, make decisions and discover their own passions.
Children are curious when ‘free’ to play and through play they continue to learn and develop. Play based learning is an essential tool to developing essential life skills. It is through play that children start to interact with the world around them. A play-based approach involves both child initiated and educator assisted learning.
We maximise the children’s Full benefits of play with a carefully planned environment.
Provocations -we deliberately set up thoughtful learning play spaces to stretch the ideas of the children. Our educators encourage children’s learning and inquiry through interactions that aim to extend a child’s thinking. This allows children to learn to be inventive, Flexible thinkers and encourages them to plan and reflect.
Open -Ended Experiences –experiences that are not clear cut, materials that create a never ending use so that play can be richer and more complex. These should be experiences that enable children to explore, investigate, problem solve and represent their understanding. Children can use any object For their imaginative play and are not discouraged. Stencils are not used within our service.
Flexible Learning Environment -children are given the option to leave areas set up and return to their play at a later stage. Flexible meal times has created an unhurried atmosphere. Children do not Find the need to leave their play to meet routine times. Having a Flexible approach with routines and meal times creates a sense of calm within the environment and we have Found children’s concentration levels to have increased.
Play is a simple joy that is a cherished part of childhood.Children deserve the right to quality education and the memories of play through their early childhood years that has contributed to who they are today.