When I first entered the world of early childhood it was over 14 years ago. I had recently trained as a primary school teacher and I was enthusiastic but so naiive in the world of early learning.
I knew how to teach reading and math but I didn’t know anything about play and why it mattered. Over the last ten years I have become a passionate advocate for play based education and everything related to play. It’s opened my eyes to a wonderful and fulfilling career in early learning and it’s taught me so much about myself. I now spend my spare time reading and sharing my knowledge about play and my days teaching part time at a kindergarten on Wellingtons beautiful Kāpiti coast.
Let’s start from the beginning…
What is play and why does it matter so much for young children?!
On the surface play might look like it’s just fun (which it is). However, once you learn about brain development you realise that play is the most important work of our children’s childhoods. It’s through play that our children learn about the world around them. They learn about relationships, they practice complex ideas such as turn taking and sharing and they actually build their brains which allows for more formal learning to make sense later down the track.
Brain research has shown that through play children are building the foundations for all their future learning and brain development. It’s more than “just play” it’s the most important work they will ever do.
Play offers so many benefits!
All of the domains of a child’s development – cognitive, social, emotional, and physical – are unified through play.
Playing is how children learn about the world and their place in it. It’s the natural language of children, even before they’ve mastered verbal communications — and sets the stage for future learning and success from the classroom to the workplace.
It’s through play that all other academic learning can make sense and through play that children’s brains grow and develop to their fullest potential!
Play offers everything that young growing brains need! It’s only through rich and meaningful play experiences that children can explore, experiment, discover, and solve problems in imaginative and playful ways.
Play provides in ways that we as adults could never fully understand. If you put your trust in your children and let them play as often as you can I promise they will be more than prepared for everything school and the future holds.
So my advice?! Just let them play! Inside, outside, in the the rain! Let them explore and experience all that this beautiful world has to offer. Let them develop, grow and learn through play because childhood is fleeting and play provides everything they need and so much more!
You can find Sarah-Rose on Instagram @heartofplay to learn more about play and find some great ideas for invitations to play.
There is a feeling of smug satisfaction that I got most things done without me cracking (ie screaming like a crazed cornered animal). Mindful Parenting is mentally exhausting, don't get me wrong. At the end of the day I'm DONE with validating everyone else, but coach Shirley says it gets easier as green brain state becomes your everyday, and I'm looking forward to that reality!
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