We have all heard the adage of children learning through play. But what does that really mean? And is it true?
Fred Rogers said, “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning.” At Premier Academy, we agree.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) reports that through play children learn and develop cognitive skills, physical abilities, new vocabulary, and social and literary skills. The NAEYC also emphasizes that play and learning are not separate activities. Instead, consider play and learning as a science lecture with a lab. Play is the child’s lab. Finally, according to the NAEYC, there are many types of play – both simple and complex. Symbolic, sociodramatic, functional, and games with rules are just of few of those types.
At Premier Academy, we put a premium on play for children of all ages because we understand the benefits of play. Namely, that play helps children learn and grow into smarter and more well-adjusted individuals. What follows are just some of the many ways play helps children to learn.
- When children play, they learn to think and to pay attention. They also think about things, read, remember and reason. All of these things help to improve their cognitive skills.
- Children exchange thoughts and information with other children when they play. Even if they are too young to talk, children communicate through actions, signals, speech and writing.
- Play enhances creativity. Play fosters imagination which allows children to create new worlds and form ideas and solutions to problems.
- Children are better able to understand themselves and others through play. Children at play learn how to cope with emotions. When kids play together they learn valuable social skills which include collaboration, compromise and negotiation skills. They also learn to share and to take the feelings of others into consideration.
- Active play enhances balance, coordination and motor skills. It also promotes healthy habits and helps to combat obesity. And healthy children are better able to learn.
Play creates deep learning experience for children. And it’s more than just throwing toys on the floor in front of kids. High-quality child enrichment centers such as Premier Academy create play-based, hands-on learning activities that are well thought out and intentional. This is where real play-based learning takes place.
Many people – even some educators – falsely believe that academic or traditional classroom learning must be separate from play-based learning. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, by marrying these two types of learning the options are endless. For example, consider a play restaurant where children have to write down orders or count back change in play money.
There is nothing quite as amazing as watching children, who are naturally curious, grow and thrive through play. Thankfully, learning does not need to take place sitting at a desk taking notes. Instead, playing teaches children the important lessons of life while instilling in them a lifelong love of learning.
Of course, the best thing about play is not that it benefits children in so many ways but that children love to do it. That is why before children can learn, they need to learn to play so that they can then learn through play.
Premier Academy offers affordable childcare in the Omaha/Elkhorn area. To learn more, visit us at premieracademyinc.com.