Learn by Play
Play-based learning is typically a technique used in early childhood education which basically translates to hands on playing. The difference between regular child play and guided child play is the guidance of an adult. Beginning with something as basic as stacking and knocking over blocks allows toddlers to discover math and science concepts, including shapes, gravity, balance and counting. Guided play opens more opportunities to further build off of and allows to do more independently. When it comes to children, this approach gives motivation to learn and further help with language and numeracy skills. This is fundamental when it comes to skill development overall. Not only does play-based learning help with cognitive development, but social-emotional and physical development as well.
Young children learn differently than adults do. They learn by comparing physical experiences, by interactions with other people and their own feelings. Playing is a full body experience that prepares them for later things in life. Not only do they gain physical development, but also mental and emotional development. Play allows children to pull both logical and creative parts of the brain together, further enhancing their own cognitive development. While there is no specific end goal when it comes to playing, the educational approach is more focused on teaching children cognitive skills simply through the act of the structure and routine. It gives one initiative, focus, and curiosity about the real world.
This method of learning is key when it comes to Montessori education. Montessori is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play. This method allows children to have a choice about what they want to do, and feels enjoyable for the child. A major reason for this is the child is able to make their own choices rather than following a script and being told what they should or shouldn’t be doing, further giving them more room to experiment and learn on their own.
This all being said, there are many benefits in life from play based learning. Starting with simulating early brain development as discussed earlier, further improving intelligence and sparking creative thinking skills. Next, it improves communication, vocabulary, and language. It also promotes impulse control and emotion regulation. They learn to cooperate when it comes to playing with others, which further develops their empathy for others. Along with emotion regulation, it also promotes better physical and mental health. It is proven that children who show better emotional control are more socially competent. Building on this, relationships are strengthened when children play with caretakers and peers as the interactions provide positive life experiences that stimulate children’s brain development. This being said, the importance of play in early childhood is far more prominent than one would consider.