“How well will my child do in school if all he does is play?” This is a common question parents ask about their preschoolers and one that can be difficult for preschool teachers to answer.
It isn’t because the teachers don’t know, but summing up the importance of play in the learning process in a short answer isn’t easy.
Part of why it’s so hard to explain how preschoolers learn by playing is because play isn’t simple – it’s complex.
Learning through play isn’t about children wandering aimlessly around a classroom dumping toys and piling up blocks. Actually, learning through play requires a well-planned environment that encourages young children to explore, investigate, question, and manipulate things around them.
Learning through play is different for every child; because children are learning at their own pace, learning in their own unique style, and guided by their own particular interests.
So how does play help young children be prepared for school?
With play; learning is detailed, solid, and long-term. Play offers preschool age children the chance to put into action the ideas and processes being taught during the structured class time.
The best way to see the power of play in any preschool; is to watch the children play and then consider how their play is utilizing the concepts and instruction provided by their teachers.
Another important question asked by parents is “How can my children learn their letters and numbers through play?” To answer it you need to learn the difference between intellectual learning and academic learning…
Academic learning: is the curriculum offered by the preschool; early reading, early math, cooking, science, etc.
Intellectual Learning: is learning through the natural processes of reasoning, hypothesizing, predicting while interacting with the environment. The most powerful way to facilitate intellectual learning is through play.
At Building Blocks Play Group, we always consider how we can promote, facilitate or reinforce a skill or concept through play experiences throughout the day.