Why is play based learning so important for children in child care? Play is the natural language of children; it’s their natural state when they’re happy and healthy. So if we can integrate learning into their natural tendency, then it will be effortless and much more effective. When an activity is fun and playful, it’s easy to get children to sit down or stand up and take part. As a child care teacher, it’s useful to keep this in mind when you draw up lesson plans. Don’t just think reading and arithmetic, think how can you teach these children important life skills in creative ways that they’ll be sure to engage with? Below are some additional reasons why play is important for learning.
While some writing and maths skills must be learnt by rote and guided by the teacher, other life-based skills are more open and self-directed. It’s important that children do not become too reliant on their teacher, and that they’re still free to use their imaginations and creativity to learn new things. For example, games in a team teach how to work with others and how to communicate clearly. The teacher doesn’t blatantly state these lessons, but they’re implicit in the child’s experience of play.
When you teach students using play, even rote and memorisation style learning is more effective, as the information is reinforced by positive feelings associated with the activity. For example, you can use music to teach about numbers, or dance moves to teach about colours. Art activities like cutting and pasting are perfect for lessons on shapes. You can be sure that when you incorporate playful tasks into your lesson plans, the information will actually go into their heads and stay there.
When you use play based learning, you’ll still have to plan your lessons and keep the class humming along nicely. But when you use play to teach, you can create an atmosphere of light-hearted learning and inquiry in your classroom. Learning is no longer a chore, and both teacher and child alike can have fun in the learning environment, maintaining a more positive atmosphere.
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