While our fast-paced work culture might have us believe that play is time spent unproductively – nothing could be further from the truth! For a young child in particular, play is the springboard to a rich source of learning and development opportunities. In fact, it’s so important in early life that the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights recognises play to be a right for every child.
What does a child learn and develop through play?
- Even as babies are playing peekaboo with a parent, they might be coming to terms with object permanence and starting to make connections between language and meaning.
- As infants engage with brightly coloured objects and tap objects together, they are likely to be developing their fine motor skills and cognitive capabilities.
- And as children begin to engage with other children and create make-believe worlds, they’re likely to be forming social and emotional skills and understandings that will hold them in great stead throughout life. These types of learnings can begin from a very early age: how to form friendships and how to mend them, how to share, how to develop patience and how to lead and follow. Children of pre-school age are also very much establishing their sense of independence, and play can enable them to explore and develop their confidence as they reach the beginning of their school years.
Put simply: play can help children to develop everything from physical dexterity to emotional resilience, to social and linguistic skills.
A child reaches six different play stages throughout early life. These stages can often align with the ages above, though this will be unique for every child.
What role does play serve in a childcare and early learning setting?
At Aurrum Kids we understand the integral role of child’s play in development and learning, and our childcare and early learning environments are built around this understanding. Everything from our curriculum to physical spaces are designed to support a child’s unique pathway through early life.
Learning can take the place of both structured and unstructured play. For example, our Aurrum Kids educators may notice a child is showing interest playing in a particular area, and shape learning experiences around this. Our educators might provide play experiences using a range of different sized objects, allowing children to develop their grasp and build strength in their fingers and hands. These types of play experiences can have profound benefits as a child later learns to hold and use a pencil.
Our physical environments also provide plenty of opportunities for uninterrupted play, including building physical and social confidence in diverse outdoor landscapes. Spaces are designed with a myriad of multi-use equipment so children can naturally create make-believe worlds of driving, magic, cooking, playing house – or other adventures we haven’t even considered!
There’s also a beautiful philosophical element to play. Much in life can happen outside the lines of what’s expected, and play can be a wonderful avenue for children to think laterally, develop adaptability and explore the limits of what’s possible. As such, it can be a key element in developing resilience and creativity that will serve a child well through life.
Play is an incredibly valuable part of life, and especially so in younger years. So we encourage your little one to run, jump, shout, stretch, sing, dance and play games – it’s all shaping them into who they are, and will be!
If you’re currently searching for high quality child care and early learning in the Mornington or Ballarat areas, you can enquire now to explore more about our brand new Aurrum Kids centres.