The importance of play for children cannot be overestimated. Play is the most fundamental part of a child’s learning. Unfortunately, as adults, we do not fully understand just how important it is for children to be able to play with a wide range of props.
Through play, children can explore their sense, their own personality and the world around them. They learn empathy, they learn about competition, about other how people do not react the same as they do.
This makes the importance of play in children’s learning incredibly vital. Through play, teachers can facilitate children’s learning through a medium that children enjoy. Children are much more receptive to new information if it is given to them in a way they enjoy.
Even adults are far more likely to retain information when it is presented in a way that interests them. For example, when I was in school, I battled somewhat with mathematics. I was good with numbers but triangles and I were not friends.
My mathematics teacher spent almost two whole lessons trying to get me to understand Pythagoras’ Theorem. I did not get it. Finally, she turned the theorem into a story and what do you know, I got it.
Children have the same disposition. You sit a child down with a pencil and paper and ask what 1+1 is, odds are they would have no clue how to answer you or write down the answer. But, if you give the child a ball, and then give the child another ball and ask how many they have, you are more likely to get a response.
Now that you have the child’s interest, it would be easy to start teaching the child simply addition and how to shape the numbers.
Everything from colors and numbers to how to tie your shoelaces and the answer to why do strawberries have their seeds on the outside can be discovered through play. This is why there is such an emphasis put on the importance of play in education.
I have not yet come across a piece of information that cannot be manipulated into a game or song or rhyme to make it enjoyable for the children to learn.
And that’s great because we should never underestimate the importance of play in early childhood development and learning.