PLAY­ING ES­SEN­TIAL TO LEARN­ING

Chil­dren learn best when they’re hav­ing fun, and they are more likely to be hav­ing fun when they are play­ing, says the Univer­sity of Mel­bourne Grad­u­ate School of Ed­u­ca­tion.

Highfields' Own - - Education -

Chil­dren learn best when they are able to learn at their own pace and in their own way, al­though it has pre­vi­ously been thought a more rigid learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment from an early age is ideal and that play has lit­tle value.

Re­search, how­ever, has found a work-ori­ented, rigid ap­proach to learn­ing is un­likely to help chil­dren de­velop a love of learn­ing or pro­vide the skills and at­ti­tude they need to be life-long learn­ers. What are the ben­e­fits of play? ■ Play pro­vides op­por­tu­ni­ties to im­prove fine mo­tor and gross mo­tor skills and main­tain phys­i­cal health. ■ Play helps to de­velop imag­i­na­tion and cre­ativ­ity. ■ Play pro­vides an en­vi­ron­ment in which to prac­tise so­cial skills. What is play-based learn­ing? A play-based pro­gram does not mean that chil­dren just do what they like all day.

A play-based pro­gram will look dif­fer­ent through­out the day – at times chil­dren may play alone or with their friends and at oth­ers chil­dren will come to­gether as a group, lis­ten when oth­ers are talk­ing, fol­low the rules of the group and be­gin to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for their own ac­tions and their en­vi­ron­ment. What is the adult’s role within a play-based pro­gram? Within a play-based pro­gram, the adult’s role is to guide and ex­tend the play ac­tiv­i­ties.

Adults con­tin­u­ally eval­u­ate chil­dren’s play to dis­cover what it is chil­dren are learn­ing and to then help shape and ex­tend this learn­ing.

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