Every adult understands a child’s desire to play. They may even be amazed by the creative nature of children’s imagination. But most do not understand the relationships between play and learning for children. In fact, for most people, learning involves acquiring a specific new skill, such as memorizing alphabets, counting, writing, etc. Some believe that playing is only for fun and involves no actual learning.
As early childhood educators it is important to follow the national recommendations of play-based approach in supporting early childhood development. The National Association for the Education of the Young Child (NAEYC) outlines developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) with nine principles and their implications for early childhood education professional practice (2021). Developmentally appropriate practices were created because of the the belief that every child deserves an opportunity to learn and grow and find delight and wonder that reflects their potential. The premise of play is based on human development philosophers that proved the healthy effects of health when humans engaged in play.
Read more about Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAP)
What Children learn through Play!
Every minute of every day, children are engaged in learning. They observe and reflect consistently. It is important not to underestimate the value of play and how it can contribute to their development.
For example, they are building skills that are cognitive, like math and problem solving in a pretend grocery store. They are developing physical abilities, like balancing blocks and running on the playground.
They are enhancing language skills and building new vocabulary, like the words they need to play with toy dinosaurs. Learning new social skills, like playing together in a pretend car wash and strengthening literacy skills, like creating a menu for a pretend restaurant.
Play allows children to build their physical and mental health. They learn what foods are nutrition and physical activity as an important component of overall health. They are growing emotionally and finding joy which helps with anxiety and stress.
Play helps adults too. Play helps adults relieve stress, improve brain function, and improve relationships.
Read more about 10 important things to remember about play.
Create an Environment of Play!
Your classroom is often called the “third teacher”. But did you know that an environment of play is more than just setting up your classroom. It is your attitude regarding play that allows for an environment of play. Children today are living in a hectic, overbooked, over scheduled and chaotic world. Many children and adults spend time in front of technology such as a TV, computer, or tablet. An environment of play could be as simple as goofing off with your class, or your friends. It includes sharing jokes with a coworker and throwing a frisbee on the beach. Giving yourself permission to play creates a joyful benefit that will last a lifetime.
- Learn more about How to set up an early childhood classroom
- Learn more about The Preschool Learning Environment
Working with children can be challenging, rewarding, and let’s face it…. Stressful! But with confidence, proven techniques and strategies you can start each day with the knowledge and understanding ready to succeed.
Join us each session as we tackle a new area of professional development. Perfect for all educators to build confidence and strategies to support their work every day.
Schedule and Topics
- Monday, December 5, 2022, 1 pm EST- New staff, LOADS of nerves
- Monday, December 12, 2022, 1 pm EST- Health, Safety and YOU!
- Monday, December 19, 2022, 1 pm EST- The Importance of Play
- Monday, January 9, 2023, 1 pm EST- Scheduling Routines
- Monday, January 23, 2023, 1 pm EST- 100 Languages of Children
- Monday, January 30, 2023, 1 pm EST- Oh Me, Oh My! Circle time has gone Awry!
- Monday, February 6, 2023, 1 pm EST- Hot Buttons: How will YOU React?
- Monday, February 13, 2023, 1 pm EST- Time Management and YOU
- Monday, February 27, 2023, 1 pm EST- YOU Can Stop the Burn out: Work-Life Balance for Child Care Professionals
Play in Early Childhood: The Role of Play in Any Setting. Harvard University. https://developingchild.harvard.edu/resources/play-in-early-childhood-the-role-of-play-in-any-setting/
Help Guide. (n.d.) The benefits of play for adults. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/benefits-of-play-for-adults.htm
Li, M. (2022). Importance of Play in Early Childhood (9 Benefits & Infographic). https://www.parentingforbrain.com/benefits-play-learning-activities-early-childhood/
Moore, D., Edwards, S., Cutter-Mackenzie, A., Boyd, W. (2014). Play-Based learning in early childhood education. In: Young Children’s Play and Environmental Education in Early Childhood Education. SpringerBriefs in Education. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-03740-0_2
National Association for the Education of the Young Child. (n.d.). D.A.P. Purpose. https://www.naeyc.org/resources/position-statements/dap/purpose
The Education Hub. (2022). What is play and why is it important. https://theeducationhub.org.nz/what-is-play-and-why-is-it-important-for-learning/