The Power Of Play: Understanding Play-Based Learning in Kindergarten 

Little Stars - The Power Of Play

Children learn best by playing. Play stimulates a child’s natural curiosity and teaches them essential skills. Through the trial and error of play, children learn to explore, take risks and use their imagination.

The first few years of a child’s life are formative to their brain development. It is crucial to shaping children’s structural brain development by strengthening neural pathways. Play also sets up a solid foundation for future academic learning. It is how children make sense of the world. Much of children’s learning takes place through play, and it is so important that it has been recognised by the United Nations as a specific right.

Play based learning programs are designed to help your child learn by exploring their own interests. Where the activities are child-centric in an educator-supported learning environment.

In this non-traditional learning environment, play drives discovery. Through individual exploration, children learn creative ways of thinking that enable them to solve problems.

Play based learning rooms are usually separated into sections such as an imaginative play area, reading area, object or blocks area, natural and textural play areas. By interacting with different play settings, children start to think, read, draw, write and talk at their own pace.

Below are listed some of the benefits of play based learning, where children learn cognitive, physical, emotional, social and creative skills that set them up for success in further education:

Development of social and emotional skills – Learning through playing with others helps build emotional and social skills. When children play, they learn to share, cooperate, communicate and solve problems with their peers. They become part of a community.

Play can help children express and understand their emotions. Helping build your child’s awareness of their own emotions and empathising with others in different scenarios. As well as, fostering positive relationships with others. It can help your child relate to others and feel connected through shared experiences.

Play based learning activities can also help children work through stressful scenarios in a healthy way.

Improvement of language and literacy skills – Children learn to express themselves through play. With themselves, educators, other children or adults. Play can improve and build their language skills so that they can communicate and listen effectively.

Play also helps children find connections between hearing, speaking, writing and reading words. They build associations between words and connections in their mind for how words can be used. This is crucial in early childhood when children’s vocabularies are growing rapidly.

Improved language is also possible when a child is guiding their own independent learning processes. While playing children create imaginative scenarios and often verbalise multiple characters. They use their minds to create stories and build structure and associations between words.

Imagination and Creativity – Creativity and imaginative play come naturally to children. When fostered in early childhood, these skills can help children become adults that are resilient and think outside the box.

Imaginative play develops children’s ability to think fast and to think for themselves. It helps them navigate real and made-up scenarios. By exploring their creativity, children learn to adapt and solve problems when things don’t go to plan. It gives them skills to proactively work with boredom.

Fine and Gross Motor Skills – Play builds children’s physical awareness, coordination and tactile responses. By moving small and large muscle groups in their body, children expand their gross and fine motor skills.

Motor skills are developed through crawling, walking, running, jumping, climbing and throwing. These activities help children learn hand-eye coordination and balance. As well as building strength in their body’s muscles.

Play activities such as drawing, grasping, touching and moulding things help children master the use of their hands, fingers and wrists. This also includes exploring objects of different textures and surfaces, such as sand, wet paint, wooden blocks and soft toys.

Confidence and Positive Attitudes Towards Learning – Play based activities help children build their self-confidence from hands-on learning. With increased confidence, children feel more inclined to take risks and try new things. They learn to make decisions for themselves and feel a sense of accomplishment.

Each child learns differently. Learning becomes a positive experience when children are left to explore at their own pace. The freedom to figure things out on their own alleviates any stress they may feel about an outcome. Motivating children to learn through their own inquiry processes.

At Little Stars, our early childhood educators work together with families to understand each individual child. Then our educators design a purposeful play based learning program where outcomes must meet the Australian Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) for children 0-5 years old. The focus is on each child’s development as they learn to make sense of their social environments through engaging in activities.

Educators support, motivate and instruct children in play based indoor and outdoor learning environments, building on their existing knowledge to help them construct new knowledge and skills.

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