This post is in collaboration with Thinkers Inq
While many parents believe the key to their child’s academic success is beginning book based learning before school starts- the opposite is actually true. Children learn the most through play based learning- when they are given the opportunity to explore their ideas, relationships, language and their environment. The benefits of play based learning have been studied extensively and experts agree that it the best way to learn in early childhood.
So what sort of play will help your children learn?
Benefits of Play Based Learning
Role-play and performance
Learning how to role-play is important in building social confidence and help to explore thinking during play. It is through engaging and listening to these learning opportunities that children’s thinking becomes visible. We can see and hear their ideas, understandings and perspectives.
Preschool children love to role play. To encourage them you could set up a shop and take turns being the shop assistant and the customer, or play parents and babies, or even schools. Think about what your chills loves doing (like dressing up in mummy’s clothes?) and encourage them to act it out. You’ll soon realise that they develop a whole new way of talking and acting when they play a new role.
Use open-ended questions
Help children develop their ideas and thinking without putting words in their mouth. An open-ended question provides children with the chance to stay in control of their play and lets them move ahead to a new game. A powerful opened question can sustain play and thinking into weeks of enjoyment.
Use toys such as train sets, lego, dolls houses etc and ask a few open-ended questions like, “what else might you see out the window of that train if you were on it?”, or, “what do you think happened to the dolls today?”. You’ll be amazed at the stories they come up with!
Pause and consider the purpose of play
Ask yourself, what difference has that play experience made for my little one? So when you are really tired of playing that one game over and over (role-playing Disney Princesses in our house!) stop and think about how it’s benefitting your child’s learning. Are they developing their imagination or language? Does it help them to explain and understand their environment? This way you can focus on supporting their growth around friendships, imagination, creative thinking and problem solving- which are all the things they need for starting school!
Thinkers Inq is a preschool for 3-5 year olds, licensed for 90 children, with a ratio of 10 children to one teacher. It’s open long daycare hours, 50 weeks a year. To find out more information, to book a tour or to enrol visit www.thinkersinq.com