Learning through Play
Much of the debate in early year’s education focuses on how educators should be teaching our children. Just as a baby has to crawl before they can walk, so too do children have to pay their dues in the “sandpit trenches”. Children must be allowed to naturally progress through their own unique stages of learning.
A curriculum that features child-initiated experiences ensures young minds continue to develop.
To make sure we nurture and develop our future generations of thinkers, play is an essential component of a quality early childhood educational experience. Research has shown play is the best exercise for the brain because it provides the perfect stimulus needed for brain development.
The Canadian Government’s Early Years Study (McCain & Mustard 1999) concluded:
“Play based problem solving with other children and an adult is an early learning strategy that has a crucial effect on early brain development and should be the format for children entering the school system".
Play that encourages problem solving offers children an array of opportunities to explore discover and create. Play fosters qualities such as curiosity, perseverance and risk taking, to name a few.
It is believed these qualities motivate lifelong learners but are difficult to invoke if not self-discovered when young.
If we remove play from children’s lives we remove a possibility for learning.