Play is one of the most important parts of child development. Play teaches children how to communicate with others, learn rules, and development essential social emotion, gross and fine motor skills. As teachers it is important to provide high quality play experiences that allow children to develop such skills.
Providing children adequate time to freely play allows them to explore and learn on their own while being guided by teachers. In an age of growing technology it is even more important to promote high quality play experiences in the classroom. With the many benefits technology provides, it doesn’t require physical activity or imagination. Using a play based curriculum ensures that children are learning naturally and at their own pace, while still building the skills needed to thrive developmentally.
The use of technology certainly has purpose in a well-rounded curriculum. For instance, inserting technology into play based curriculums such as The Creative Curriculum, helps build upon knowledge that is previously learned through play.
Additionally, play helps children build trust with others. It is important for children to play and share interactions with their teachers. This helps build trust that will be carried over into the learning in other areas.
Essential skills that are developed through play:
- Problem solving and critical thinking
- Fundamental math skills such as sorting, counting, and ordering
- Vocabulary and communication
- Social skills
- Learning how to make friends
- Forming relationships and trusting others
As educators it is important to understand the value of play and to also share that importance with parents/guardians so that rich play experiences also take place at home.