Little ones love to play and seem to hate structured learning, and it's no wonder. Structured learning is great for adults, especially after being conditioned through a long process of childhood development, but in the previous years, this was not so.
Early childhood development is characterised by the basics of sight, sound, touch, and simple social lessons. Experimentation and games with very mild consequences and seemingly huge rewards are a natural fit.The Wonderful World of Play-Based Learning
Play-based learning is built around the process of learning rather than a particular endpoint. The goal is to find the learning opportunities within a child's natural interests and expressions. A game of tag is an easy way to blend motor skills with social lessons; a puzzle teaches pattern recognition and goal-directed behavior; Duplo and other building blocks allow problem-solving and spatial skills; singing and dancing encourage self-expression and confidence.
To be effective, the play must be of interest to the child; be open-ended and spontaneous; be stirring to the child's sense of creativity and imagination.
Activity and engagement speak the natural language of small children, who thrive on stimulation and exploration.The First Classroom is the Home
While schools modelled on the Montessori and Reggio Emilia methods do exist, it isn't necessary to pay someone else to rear your children for you. Even simple inclusion in household tasks like cooking and cleaning provides valuable lessons and loving inclusion in the lives of your children. There are many affordable play learning kits available for use, and even playing dress-up with old clothes can be highly beneficial to early childhood development.The Benefits of Play-Based Learning
Children whose early lives are full of play-based learning have an easier time forming healthy relationships for the rest of life. The social lessons learned by playing simple games like hide and seek establish an awareness of self and others, promoting empathy, and introducing social structure. The physical games and activities allow children to burn off their excess energy; giving them a healthy appetite and a better night's sleep. Puzzles, blocks, painting, and other fine motor skills also promote problem-solving skills and self-expression for the rest of life.
With huge benefits and small costs, play-based learning sets the foundation of childhood development.
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