Play is Learning
“There are many perspectives on what children’s play may look like, its content and purpose and the adult’s role within children’s play: from child-led play without an adult involvement through adult-directed play to play co-constructed by children and an adult.” (Andrews, 2012).
So how does play promote learning?
Play for children and adults is not always seen as an event for learning. Often it is considered as fun and rest. But it is important to note that play for children is a rich, and valuable experience for learning and the development of academic skills. It allows children to practice and develop ideas, to be a designer and to re-work and improve engineering experiences. This play allows authentic connections socially and emotionally.
Play allows children to improve executive function by giving them the opportunity to plan, to sequence and to enact activities, ideas based on sequencing and logic.
Children practice skills in mathematics and language (orally and written) by using numbers and language to label, to document ideas and to estimate size, distance and amounts.
Play allows children to digest and understand their knowledge. They sort, classify and show the ideas they have gained from books, movies, conversations or observing everyday life.
Play is children’s work, it is children’s way of asking questions, of finding out more and represents what they are learning and offers us the opportunity to understand their learning
If a particular position is taken about the role of the adult in children’s play it affects what happens in play and children’s experiences. Current educational approaches provide an alternative example of how learning can be fostered based on play pedagogies rather than teacher directed pedagogies (Wood, 2004, 2010).