You may ask your child "What did you do today?" The answer may be "I just played." The role of play in learning should not be underestimated.
Children are provided with a balance of ample time to engage in self-directed play as well as teacher-initiated learning activities. Child-driven play contribues to cognitive, social emotional and physical development of the child. Play is how children begin to understand their world. Children develop critical thinking skills necessary to ask questions and figure out how things work.
Through play a child will acquire many of his/her necessary skills that will subsequently be used for successful learning. Skills that a child develops and strengthens through play are language development, problem solving, negotiation and sequencing skills. Play provides a child with situations that will foster cooperation. As children socialize in play, they will learn to express their ideas and to listen to the ideas expressed by others.
To encourage the importance of play we like to show value to play and talk to the children about their play such as "I like the way you're playing." We like to create a playful atmosphere by providing space and materials to play with. We help when play seems to be stuck. When there is arguing or misuse of toys, a new toy is offered or we suggest a new direction or experience. We supervise play to keep it safe. Equipment is checked for safety and we monitor the physical risks children may set for themselves. As children learn to share, negotiate, and increase their communication skills, there may be conflicts. We guide the children to solve their own problems. Children learn important skills when they play, either alone or in groups.
Just Playing - Author Unknown
When I'm building in the block area. Please don't say I'm "Just playing." For, you see, I'm learning as I play about balance and shapes.
When I'm getting all dressed up, setting the table, caring for pretend babies. Don't get the idea I'm "Just playing." For, you see, I'm learning as I play. I may be a mother or father someday.
When you see me up to my elbows in shaving cream, paint or molding and shaping clay. Please don't say I'm "Just playing." For you see, I'm expressing myself and being creative. I may be an artist or an inventor someday.
When you see me sitting in a chair "Reading" to an imaginary audience, please don't laugh and think I'm "Just playing." For, you see, I'm learning as I play. I may be a teacher someday.
When you see me combing the bushes for bugs, or packing my pockets with choice things I find. Don't pass it off as "Just play." For, you see, I'm learning as I play. I may be a scientist someday.
When you see me engrossed in a puzzle, or some "plaything" at my school. Please don't feel the time is wasted in "Play." I'm learning to solve problems and concentrate. I may be a business person someday.
When you see me pretend or really cooking and tasting foods. Please don't think that because I enjoy it, it is "Just play." I'm learning to follow directions and see differences. I may be a chef someday.
When you see me learning to skip, hop,run and move my body. Please don't say I'm "Just playing." For, you see, I'm learning as I play. I'm learning how my body works. I may be a doctor, nurse or athlete someday.
When you ask me what I've done at preschool today. And I say, "I just played." Please don't misunderstand me. For, you see, I'm learning as I play. I'm learning to enjoy and be successful in my work. I'm learning to love learning.