We all know that there is nothing quite as beautiful as a child’s imagination. However, in recent years there has been an explosion of research on the impact play time has on a child’s education. In general, the study shows strong links between social development, cognitive development, language, and physical development too. Motor skills, both gross and fine, show considerable improvement with play.
As they get older, reaching ages 4 and 5, they start to go be more expressive. Montessori school, Primary Montessori continues the learning through play ethos. Play-based learning is a great and natural process. Kids are naturally motivated to learn, letting them explore pens, paper, paints, and wooden bricks enable them to cater to their learning speed.
What is Play-Based Learning?
As stated above, children are natural learners. They love to explore and mimic what they see around them. Schools in recent years provide more and more opportunities for children to experiment, solve problems and discover for themselves, but in a guided way. It involves initiative from the teacher – to encourage and ask questions. Or, if the little one is still at home, you can start them on the right path.
A great example is when the child is playing with building blocks you can ask a simple question about how many sides it has, the color, the texture, and what else looks like a building block. This encourages the child to start thinking about what they are doing, how it feels, and what other uses a building block has. Believe it or not, this begins to form the foundations of maths, science and technological concepts.
How Does it Compare to Traditional Learning?
Traditional learning takes a much more guided approach. Children will be shown and exposed to specific skills at the same rate as everyone else in their class. Regardless of if they are ready to learn it or not. That is not to say this doesn’t work for millions of families and children though. In contrast, play-based learning has a student-centered approach, whereby the student is the leader in how they learn and when they discover certain concepts. Although some research suggests that children in play-based learning environments have higher learning outcomes.
Playing, whether it be kicking a football and learning team sport or arranging blocks in size order decreases stress, and ups the motivation for learning.
The chances are without even meaning to, most parents have encouraged and facilitated a love of learning. Just by engaging with your children and supplying simple wooden toys, building blocks and colored numbers and letters you are laying great foundations.
Here are a few ways you can take that one step further:
- Ask your child to sort things out. Piles, matching colors, the same sizes and smallest to largest.
- Dough, water beads, pasta, flour, and even slime are all great to help them work with textures. This is a pure sensory play.
- Dress up! Letting that big imagination loose as often as possible helps them express big emotions and big dreams.