What is learning through play, exactly?
Children are naturally curious and they are capable of learning. They learn in many different ways. They investigate things themselves, try to discover new things, they imitate each other and other people, but they especially enjoy play. This helps children develop new pathways in their brain; new pathways that enable children to learn new skills. For instance, while playing they learn to exclude or filter distractions, plan a sequence of actions and take into account the future consequences of their actions. They also learn such things as handling emotions, motivation and alertness. There are so many advantages to learning through play. Four specific advantages are mentioned below:
- Intrinsic motivation
Learning through play makes learning fun and exciting for children. As play is already enjoyable, they are intrinsically motivated to take part and to learn, which enables them to develop a positive attitude towards learning.
- Meaningful learning
Learning through play offers children the opportunity to understand new concepts and skills in a meaningful way. They use play to apply knowledge in a context that is relevant for their environment.
- Social interaction
Play stimulates social interaction and cooperation between children. They learn to communicate, negotiate, share and resolve conflicts, which helps them develop social skills and build positive relationships.
- Creativity and imagination
Learning through play encourages children to use their imagination and be creative. They can take on new roles, create scenarios and resolve problems in their own unique way, stimulating their creativity and helping them to develop problem-solving skills.
Learning through play is an important priority at Kindergarden
Learning through play actually prepares children now for adult life and the journey towards this. By consciously varying the developmental areas that you stimulate through play, children already learn all kinds of skills that are useful later on. And that’s our mission: working with lots of love on children’s development so they move from the baby phase to become independent, confident children with a positive self-image. Ready for the next steps in their future. It’s important to know that our priority is about how our children investigate and not on the results of their efforts.
Learning through play in practice
There are various ways to learn and at Kindergarden we focus on all these forms. For instance children are free to play how they like, but we also ‘structure’ play. Children can’t really manage a full day of free play, which is why we alternate this with inspiration and structure by, for instance, handing out materials. But we do make sure that we don’t decide everything for the children. It’s about finding a good balance. Sometimes we have a certain theme that we use to give inspiration and we also alternate the toys we offer. We have toys that really look like something, such as dolls, as well as ‘less defined’ toys that stimulate children’s imagination more. Combining both seems to work best.