Learning Through Play
Play is critical for healthy growth and development during the early years of life. Play is therapeutic and enables children to deal with their negative feelings. If we fail to provide opportunities for play, then we risk unwanted consequences. Self-initiated play nourishes the child’s curiosity, imagination, and creativity, and these abilities are like muscles— if you don’t use them, you lose them. And since these skills develop with age, it’s important to encourage them with age-appropriate challenges.
Children learn through play. For example: Your infant drops his spoon on the floor, you automatically pick it up, he does it again, and the process is repeated. This quickly becomes a game for the child, but most importantly, a learning experience. Preschoolers enjoy dramatic play. Dressing up like superheroes, wearing mom and dad’s old clothes, or pretending to be the teacher are all learning experiences gained through play.
It is important for parents as well as early childhood educators to provide as many opportunities as possible for play throughout a child’s day before they reach public school age and they are left with little time to indulge their natural predisposition for fantasy, imagination, and creativity.
Ivy Academy West Director