A highly academic preschool classroom focused on reading, writing, and math is not necessarily the best learning environment. In fact, the most effective learning curriculums involve a balance of playing and discovery in a creative setting. Both inside and outside school, it’s essential that kids have time for a mix of independent deep thinking and socialization.
How Children Learn Through Play
- Language: Playing in groups means that children are speaking out loud, hearing and learning new words from other children.
- Problem solving: Problem solving is about more than workbooks and word problems – children can learn to problem solve through interacting. If they are playing school and do not have real chairs outside, they may learn to improvise with large rocks while imaging they are chairs. They may also learn to barter and negotiate toys or take turns on the swing set with time limits.
- Motor skills: Although cutting and tracing help with fine motor skills of the hands, playing also develops motor skills. For instance, throwing a ball, playing hop scotch, or drawing with chalk all involve intense coordination.
Other Ways to Encourage Effective Learning
- Asking the right questions: Instead of asking yes or no questions (inside or outside of the classroom), ask open ended questions that promote discussion. Ask follow up questions and encourage children to speak more and use their language skills to explain their reasoning.
- Buy the right toys: Believe it or not, building blocks may promote more problem solving and learning skills than a puzzle. While a puzzle is structured to have one right answer, building blocks offer a range of creative structures one can build. This a free thinking toy that allows children to discover through trial and error and imagination.
How Can Parents Encourage Learning Through Play at Home?
- Be a playmate: At home, encourage children to play by being their buddy. Let them take the lead on the games or make-believe situations they would like.
- Don’t overdo activities: Keeping your children on an intense schedule of sports, piano lessons, or other activities can eliminate some much needed down time. It is also important for young children to have time to relax, reflect on their day, and think quietly to themselves during independent play.
A Well-Balanced Preschool in Raleigh, NC
Primary Beginnings uses The Creative Curriculum to incorporate the latest research and best practices, emphasizing creativity and discovery. Contact us for more information on our preschool locations off of Spring Forest Road and North Hills Drive.