The child riding a bike around the yard is improving his gross motor skills, becoming aware of his surroundings (don’t hit anyone), imaging where he might be riding, collaborating and communicating with others as they negotiate turn taking, and understanding the importance of safety as they put on their helmets, just to name a few. It looks like play, it is play, but it meets an academic goal.
Some other play activities include;
- Block building, which develops mathematical goals (spatial concepts, problem solving, balance and weights, cooperation).
- Stringing beads also has mathematical goals (correspondence counting, patterns, sequencing); Literacy goals (visual motor coordination, left to right concepts)
- Finger plays and rhymes have literacy goals (auditory discrimination, phonetic skills, auditory memory, concept comprehension, visual motor coordination, vocabulary development)
- Concentration games are also good for literacy goals (visual discrimination, symbolic decoding, visual memory, concept development; Mathematical goals (matching and classification)
- Drawing and painting, those apparently random lines on the page have literacy goals (symbolic representation, visual memory, visual motor coordination, creative expression)
Young children learn best through hands on experiences. They need to actively explore and manipulate materials and toys; discovering answers, properties, relationships, skills and concepts for themselves.
Our curriculum is developed and based on extensive research and the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF). According to the Early Years Learning Framework, Play-Based Learning is "a context for learning through which children organise and make sense of their social worlds, as they engage actively with people, objects and representations.” The fact that children learn through play is nothing new. Influential psychologists and researchers have been studying play and its effects for years. Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, Eric Erikson, Friedrich Froebel and others have watched how children play and developed stages, checklists and milestones for children’s play. Although these researchers have different theories on play and how to develop children’s play, one thing they do agree on is that play is THE most important way for young children to learn.
Renowned child psychologist Jean Piaget is noted as saying that "Play is the work of childhood". It is a child's very personal way of interacting with their world and learning to master the possibilities in it.
So, let me encourage you to play with your children, dig in the garden, go for a walk and see what you can find, get in the sandpit with them, let them play.
Director of ELC and OSHC