2017 08 06 11.15.38

We all know that quality early education is a huge contributor to a child’s future successes, but how many of us appreciate just how important play is during their early years? 

 

Learning through play is nothing new, but there is a growing realisation and acceptance that childhood play is absolutely crucial to a lifelong learning journey  It might be a bit of a muddy and messy journey (especially when play involves getting down and dirty outdoors), but it’s certainly one which will benefit the child immeasurably. 

 

As the body of research* pointing to the significant benefits from play-based early education grows and increasing proof emerges that play has strong links to a child’s language, cognitive, physical, emotional and social development, early learning centres and childcare service providers are moving away from the traditional structured teacher-directed approach.   

 

In fact, play-based learning is a central tenet of the Australian Government’s Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) which is rooted in the understanding that children are naturally curious and the world around them is a source of wonder, excitement and interest.*   Play helps children develop into socially competent learners who are able to cope with challenges, negotiate, take risks, make mistakes and work out solutions using hands-on exploration and discovery. 

 

Here’s an example.  Imagine children playing around with mud and water.  It might be a bit squelchy and sloshy, but just think about what they’re learning during this unstructured and open-ended FUN!  All their senses are engaged and they’re being inventive, forming ideas, testing theories, solving problems, being adventurous, challenging themselves and expanding their experiences.    

 

Now try and imagine how you would ‘teach’ children these same things in structured classroom environment.   It’s impossible. 

 

Here are some of the many ways that play-based learning benefits your child: 

  • It stimulates their drive to explore and discover 

  • It fires up their imagination and piques their curiosity 

  • It teaches them about persistence 

  • It teaches them to solve problems by testing theories, exploring ideas and working out a solution 

  • It enables them to develop cognitive skills like reasoning and lateral thinking 

  • It promotes language skills in a fun way and builds vocabulary  

  • It develops their social skills 

  • It teaches them how to co-operate with their peers, share ideas and resources, negotiate and resolve conflicts 

  • It helps develop numerical skills and builds understanding of maths and spatial concepts 

  • It helps children face challenges and in doing so, builds their self-belief, confidence and resilience 

  • It develops their gross and fine motor skills 

  • It helps children make sense of their social worlds 

  • It allows them to engage in healthy risk-taking 

  • It helps them to regulate their emotions and develop empathy 

 

These a just a few of the positive effects that play has on early childhood learning and development, but it’s important to remember that child’s play is not, well, child’s play.  Things don’t happen by accident. 

 

Play-based learning is by nature, enquiry based and it takes skilled educators and quality environments to bring about higher learning outcomes through this child-directed approach.  Educators need the appropriate skills and experience so that they know where each child is in terms of their overall development and where their strengths and interests lie in order that they encourage the best outcomes for each individual and unique child. 

 

Finding a childcare centre that focuses on play-based learning 

 

If you think your child would benefit from a play-based learning environment, you will probably have to do a little extra research before making your childcare choices.  But if you’re looking for a quality child care centre in Mandurah, Bibra Lake or Fremantle, you should have a look at what Treasured Tots offers.   

 

Treasured Tots Early Education is a network of privately-owned child care centres in Perth which provide a nurturing ‘home away from home’ for families and their children with a focus on learning through play.   

 

Children at their established child care centres in Mandurah, Bibra Lake and Fremantle participate in visual arts, singing, dancing, musical play, dramatic play as well as a whole range of indoor and outdoor real life experiences all within a safe, nurturing and loving environment, supported by experienced and skilled educators.  Their aim is to develop children to be independent and confident learners who are well prepared for formal schooling and you can find out more about the Fremantle, Bibra Lake or Mandurah centres, you should check out their website, www.treasuredtots.com.au. 

 

 

 

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