Play is how children experience their world and bring meaning to it. It models the social framework that builds relationships for life and kindles imagination. Play gives children the chance, in a world where so many carry heavy burdens, to simply be children. It is though play that children learn best.
Ridgeview teachers balance traditional and non-traditional approaches to learning. To a casual observer, in some cases, it may look like children are ‘simply’ playing, when in fact class lessons and activities are purposely designed around a given topic or big idea to support exploration, problem solving, teamwork, creativity and problem solving capabilities.
Educators understand child development and intervene when appropriate to facilitate learning to help children extend their explorations, and to provide necessary support and guidance. This happens across all grades and within all subject areas.
So, why use a learning through play approach? Following are 8 convincing reasons:
- Children learn more when they are playing.
- Play nurtures creativity and problem solving capabilities.
- Play is health promoting. It builds children’s strength and coordination and is beneficial for children’s emotional health.
- Play stimulates the healthy development of children’s brains.
- Play provides the context in which caring adults teach children how to behave, how to treat others, and how to understand the social conventions of the community.
- Play provides the opportunity to learn essential social skills: to take turns, to share and to cooperate.
- Play helps children develop friendships with their peers and develop good interpersonal skills that are essential to children’s lifelong success.
- Play environments produce natural opportunities for children to learn self-respect and how to treat others with respect.
Unfortunately, as expectations for student achievement increase, the tendency for parents and educators is to decrease the amount of time for exploration and play. But this can come at a cost.
Play is far more powerful for children than many realize. It is actually the key to learning.
“Play is the highest form of research.” Albert Einstein