For young children just starting their educational journey, it is important that they get the right foundations. Everything they do at a young age underpins their future learning and how well they will develop and be able to progress.
Research has shown, for a long time now that successful learning incorporates children being active, engaged, meaningful as well as social. Play based learning when used properly has a genuine impact student learning and development. Below, I explain seven reasons why play is crucial for developing students learning skills. I’ll then explain eight play-based activities you can try with your child.
Play based learning is not limited to school. As parents you have a key role in your child’s development and bond more with them at the same time. Play teaches parents patience and understanding. When you join in your child’s play make sure that you do not try to take it over and force your own learning objectives into their play. Structured parent-led activities have their time and place but remember to allow time for your children to control and decide their own play. Play gives parents the chance to learn how to play again. One of the most challenging parts of play is allowing yourself in it.
Play encourages parents to communicate with their children. Parents can support their child’s play by providing them opportunities to play, and by knowing when to get involved, and when not to be involved. Playing should be fun. Learning to play well, both by themselves and with others, sets children up to be contented and sociable.
As a parent, how can you get involved? Your child will be learning new things every day. This is an important age to encourage your child to play with others, look at books they like and talk about what they are doing. Talking to your child shows you’re interested in them and care about them. The more they get the chance to speak, the more they’ll want to and the more they will learn. Try some of these activities.
Playing games helps prepare your child for the world. They’ll learn about taking turns, taking risks, understanding emotions and playing well with others. Combining reading, playing and imagination will help your child be excited about books. This will help them as they develop their reading skills. Reading stories helps children understand change, challenges and feelings. Playing games with your child is also fun for you, but make sure you give yourself time to do this properly, children can get disappointed and lose interest if activities are always rushed or unfinished.
Ian Gross is the Principal at Kinabalu International School, Sabah, Malaysia and is currently studying for a Doctorate in Education through Bath University, UK.
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