The Importance of Play
Our new beginnings in the ISTCI Nursery School are full of lively exploration. From puppets, painting and playing with coloured scarves and ropes, to swinging outside in our playground; the children thrive in such an enriching environment. All in the name of PLAY!
We know that play offers appropriate learning and development in ways children naturally embrace and thrive on.
Children actually begin learning academics from birth by making sense of the world around them through their daily interactions and experiences. They learn the foundations of academic concepts through play experiences.
We know that 90% of the physical brain is developed in the first five years of life and that a good early childhood program supports this important neurological development. Early literacy is based on experiences with language in all its forms and that success in a lifelong love of reading is not based on early acquisition of ABC’s, but on early experience with language.
Play shapes the mental, emotional, social, physical, and intellectual development of children and it promotes significant mental capacities while stretching the attention span and building vocabulary.
Approaching academics stress-free keeps the body and brain from producing chemicals that prevent learning and that early pressure to perform academically can lead to long-term related problems. Therefore making nursery/pre-school more academic isn’t developmentally appropriate and in the long term, isn’t effective in producing smarter kids.
As children learn basic concepts, they use these to understand more complex concepts. By exploration and discovery their curiosity is heightened and they are motivated to learn. We can promote play at home and school by providing ample room for play. Playmates, sensory experiences, outdoor play, paints, dress-up clothes, blocks, and helping children realize a love for books and reading. Play is instinctive to children and it encompasses nearly the entire day of a young child.
By playing a child is beginning to organize ideas, develop planning skills and start engaging in the thought process and during play children practice intellectual thoughts and their ‘ideas”. Play is also an emotional outlet for children, by providing a ‘cushion’ against the realities of life and it helps to form children into social beings and provides the first steps in becoming a friend and contributor.
Ultimately it is our responsibility to allow children to play out their own ideas, and be available for extending their play when appropriate.
So children and parents let’s keep playing!