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The Importance of Learning Through Play in a Childcare Center

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When children learn through playing, they are more likely to succeed in school and other situations later in life. This is a crucial aspect of a child’s upbringing and it’s important as the caregiver to introduce this form of learning early in life. 

Why Should Children Learn Through Play? 

Children have a natural curiosity and desire to figure things out. However, sitting in a classroom and having someone talk to them isn’t always the best option. Studies show that playful learning encourages a deeper understanding of concepts and ideas and promotes long term learning in children. Play based learning helps children develop stronger attention skills because they enjoy what they are doing and learning. 

At 0-3 years, learning through play engages young children and fosters a fun and exciting learning environment. At 3-12 years, children begin making connections with what they learned while playing and applying that knowledge to real world examples. At 12 years and above, children who learned through playing have a wide set of skills, examples, and knowledge base to solve problems and think through issues. 

Play based learning improves children’s cognitive development. By interacting with other children and adults, these children develop crucial communication skills, social interaction skills, and problem-solving skills. Playing pretend with others develops stronger levels of communication and interaction among children.  

Children naturally learn through playing. Examples of this are when children play make-believe family or school and apply concepts they learned by observing the people around them. The children learn about communication, social settings, and collaborating with others. 

Play based learning improves children’s physical development. At young ages, children who play define and refine their basic motor skills. Keeping children active can help them build up their balance, coordination, and ability to hold objects. These skills are crucial for when they get older and more independent. Additionally, this physical activity also improves their sleep habits, eating habits and overall health. 

Play based learning strengthens children’s relationships and ability to express emotions. As children play, different situations will arise. When confronted with different scenarios, children learn how to handle those encounters. They will learn how to behave appropriately and develop relational skills that they might not have learned by sitting in a classroom. 

With more exposure to different people, children learn how to adapt and interact with others. They will also learn how certain behaviors and situations make them feel. With each interaction, they’ll be able to unpack the emotions they feel. 

As a recap, the benefits of learning through play are: 

  • Children learn about social skills which will help them throughout their lives.
  • It fosters an open environment where children can develop their curiosity and imagination.
  • It helps children’s language development and speaking skills because the play based learning environment can be less intimidating than a traditional classroom.

Characteristics of Learning Through Play

For play based learning to work and be beneficial for the children, there are a couple of elements that should be present. 

The play should be something that the children decide to do. Allowing the children to choose the types of activities they do, will unleash their imagination and creativity when playing. Adults can (and at times, should) supervise and regulate the play, but children will learn best when they’re allowed to play on their own accord. 

The play should be unstructured. The children should be able to do things that they enjoy without feeling like there’s strict guidelines on what they should do. There’s no set goal in mind when children learn through playing. This isn’t a traditional learning environment, so the children should be able to play in whatever way they choose. 

The play should be enjoyable to the children. It isn’t playing if the child doesn’t enjoy what they’re doing. The goal is to allow the children to learn about themselves and the world around them by doing activities they like. When given the freedom to choose something enjoyable, children will begin applying the skills discussed above. 

The play should be process-oriented not learning-oriented. Though that might sound counterintuitive, focusing on the process of playing is beneficial to children. Yes, the end goal is to have the children learn crucial skills, but at the moment, the goal is to engage the children on a fun and exciting level. 

Learning through playing is a creative process that teaches children developmental skills in an untraditional format. The process should not be rigid and academic-based – it should be fluid and focused on enjoyment. Young children will learn the skills necessary for their development by playing, and will be better prepared for academic settings in the future. 

Learning Through Play at a Childcare Center

As a parent, it can be nerve wracking to think that your child isn’t learning basic skills because all it seems like they’re doing is playing. However, learning through play is a vital aspect of a young child’s development. 

One of the best ways to ensure your child is learning through playing is through a childcare center. At these facilities, there are trained professionals who know how to take care of and interact with children to ensure they are prepared for the future. When looking into child care centers, determine how much emphasis the organization places on play based learning. 

At The Learning Experience, our childcare centers see the benefit of learning through play and we design programs that encourage children to learn while having fun. If you’re interested in learning more about our programs and how we can help you and your child, visit our site. You can also find a TLE childcare center near you by clicking here

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