The first five years of life involves speedy and critical development in a child. Preschool is therefore an important foundation for learning. A good preschool lays a strong foundation for a child and prepares the child for higher education. Children at this age come from a sheltered environment and therefore attending a preschool helps them understand the basics of life and helps them retain the lessons learnt throughout life.
Encouraging children to play and explore helps them learn and develop socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually. The importance of play in cognitive development cannot be overlooked. Children’s play involves exploration, language experimentation, cognition, and the development of social skills. Kids need an opportunity to play outdoors daily, not only to induce fresh air but also because it fosters cooperation, learning, and creativity, and sparks an interest within the nature. Children need to climb, jump, run, pick up sticks, jump in puddles and learn that sometimes it is fine to fall.
Play based curriculum helps in brain growth and nurtures the executive functions of the brain. Play helps children learn better, retain better and enjoy the learning process. Play teaches kids various qualities and social skills such as to reason, use logic, plan and work with others, sometime to lead and at times to follow, to win and to lose, team spirit, among other such qualities. When we think about play based learning, we often consider free play, which is unstructured and directed by children, usually without adult involvement. Although, play-based learning is more usefully seen as a spectrum, with free play at one end and teacher-guided playful learning at the other end. In between there is a range of methods, either entirely supported play or incorporating elements of it.
The follow are the benefits of learning through play:
- Play Encourages Communication
Play gives an opportunity for children to develop speech, language and listening skills. Children talk and listen while they play. The more vocabulary a toddler is exposed to on a day-to-day basis, the greater the range of words a toddler will incorporate into play.
- Play Improves Cognitive Development
Children who engage in play tend to possess more sophisticated levels of interaction with others. While playing, children engage in solving problems, creating, experimenting, thinking and learning all the time. Therefore, play supports your child’s cognitive development – that is, your child’s ability to think, understand, communicate, remember, imagine and work out what might happen next.
- Play Encourages Relationship Building
While playing, children learn the art of building social relationships with their peers and teachers. As play becomes more important during a child’s life, a rise within the number and quality of friendships has been seen. In fact, development of social skills is equally important for language development in a child.
Considering these benefits of play, we recommend you look for a preschool where the faculty understands the importance of free and guided play.