Understanding the Importance of Play-based Learning for Preschoolers

If you are the parent of a preschooler, it is likely that you have heard the term “play-based learning” more than once. We all know that children can pick up important lessons through playing. While playing, they explore, engage their imagination, take risks, and solve problems. This helps them learn skills that are critical for their physical, social, and cognitive development. 

The beauty of play-based learning is that it appeals to the natural curiosity of a child. This creates an excellent teaching opportunity for our educators, and they can tailor learning programs by aligning them in accordance with the type of play kids love to engage in.  

Elements of play-based learning

In order to make play-based learning effective, it is important for the educators to create an environment where children are encouraged to participate. 

Some of the most critical elements of effective play-based learning include 

  • Self-direction: Children should be given the opportunity to choose the type of play and how it is played. Adults can suggest ideas, accompany, or supervise, but the rest must be decided by the child. 
  • Exploration: The child should have complete freedom to explore for themselves and select activities or objects based on their own interests. 
  • Fun: The type of play chosen must be enjoyable for the child. Adults should abstain from forcing activities of their choice because it is extremely important that the child enjoys what he or she is doing. 
  • Process-oriented: Please be mindful of the fact that the process of the play is the all important aspect of play-based learning. Also, do remember that these activities have no correct response or end goal.   

Some Benefits of play-based learning

  • Language and literacy development: Recent studies indicate that play promotes literacy and language development of a child. While playing, children tend to engage in multiple forms of communication such as goal sharing, negotiation, storytelling, etc. These natural conversations during play-based learning help significantly in developing a child’s vocabulary.  
  • Social and emotional skills: When it comes to developing a child’s social and emotional skills, play-based learning can be an effective tool. While playing together, children learn to communicate effectively, solve problems, cooperate, get along with each other, and resolve conflicts. It also helps develop emotional skills such as recognising and regulating emotions.
  • Motor Skills: While playing, activities such as running, jumping, climbing, and throwing can help children develop hand-eye coordination, balance, and gross motor skills. Activities such as role-playing, painting, and drawing, on the other hand, can help develop fine motor skills. 
  • Creativity and imagination: Be it imaginary or real, play has a critical role in helping children deal with different scenarios in their lives. This is why self-direction is an extremely important element of play-based learning. 
  • Positive attitude towards learning:  The ability to learn things their way and at their own pace creates a positive attitude to learning. Also, as there is no pressure of achieving any goal, children can enjoy the learning without stress.

If you have any questions related to your child’s early childhood education, please contact our expert educators at Valley Heights Preschool Long Day Care Centre.