When young children transition from their comfort zones to preschool or school, they encounter significant changes that require time for them to adjust to. Therefore, using a textbook as a teaching tool might not be the best or most effective approach. It is imperative that we assist the young children who are beginning their educational journey to relax and come to terms with the educational system. This is when the significance of play-based learning becomes evident. Early education programmes are offered by preschools and schools in a variety of ways, each emphasising the advantages of their own offerings. Play-based learning is one method of gaining popularity in the early elementary school curriculum.
What is Play-Based Learning?
Younger children do not suddenly realise how important education is when they are enrolled in school. Therefore, it becomes necessary to progressively get children to a point where they are in charge of their own education. Play-based learning is the only way to start this transformation in its early phases. Children are encouraged to investigate their surroundings and come up with original, inventive, and creative solutions to challenges through play-based learning programmes. Play-based learning incorporates teacher-assisted instruction as well as student-initiated learning. By using interactions that attempt to challenge the students’ thinking, the teacher supports the students’ learning and inquiry.
Importance of Play-Based Learning in Early Childhood
Play is a joyful, voluntary activity without a set objective or goal in mind. Unbelievably, these kinds of activities set the stage for a child to grow up to be an enthusiastic and inquisitive learner. Through play-based learning, kids can improve their language and numeracy skills as well as their social skills and enthusiasm to learn. Play involves taking charge, paying close attention, and being curious about the outside world.
By encouraging play-based learning, teachers and educational institutions hope to assist kids in becoming more capable individuals who can utilise their minds for reasoning, analysis, and even improving their motor abilities. There are two approaches to play-based learning: free play and guided play. With guided play, learning is deliberate and the teacher participates in the game together with the kids.
How Play-Based Learning Help?
Play-based learning fosters creativity, critical thinking, and social skills in children, making education enjoyable and effective. Here are the Key benefits of play-based learning:
- Boosts Social-Emotional Skills
Children’s social development and overall well-being are based on their socio-emotional skills. Children can gain social skills, empathy, and self-awareness through play-based learning. Children learn how to share, negotiate, take turns, and engage with others via play. They also learn healthy means of expressing themselves and controlling their emotions. In addition to teaching them about social expectations and conventions, it gives them the chance to socialise and build relationships with their peers. In preparation for kindergarten and beyond, students also learn conflict resolution, which is a critical component of social development.
- Cognitive Development
Children can gain critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills through play-based learning activities. Engaging in hands-on play activities enables children to establish connections between their learning and real-life situations. Building blocks, puzzles, and imaginative play are among the activities that help kids develop critical cognitive abilities that are the cornerstone of future academic achievement.
- Fosters Creativity and Imagination
Early childhood education that encourages imagination and creativity has numerous advantages for young children’s social-emotional and cognitive growth. When a child plays, they can experiment and learn how to solve problems and interact with others. Imagination and creativity are sparked and developed by play. A child usually starts pretend-play at the age of two. They could be cradling a doll to sleep or feeding it. Later phases of pretend play involve more intricate roles, locations, and props, as well as working together to accomplish a shared objective with a peer.
- Provides a Natural Learning Environment
Children learn through play, and play-based learning in the best Kindergarten school in Thrissur provides a natural and stimulating setting in which they can experiment, explore, and make sense of the world around them. Play is the language of children. Education becomes a pleasurable and intuitive experience as it emulates the natural learning process of kids.
- Enhances Language Development
The preschool years are critical for language development. Play-based learning can facilitate language development in kids by giving them the chance to role-play, converse, and tell stories. Through play, children acquire new words, hone their communication skills, and grow in their capacity for self-expression. Children use and develop their language spontaneously, whether they engage in pretend play or work in groups. They practise speaking clearly, assuming different roles, and expressing themselves in the play environment.
- Creates Positive Disposition Towards Learning
A child’s attitude towards learning can be positively impacted by play-based learning in a variety of ways. Because they are motivated by their own interests and curiosities, children who choose their own play are more involved and interested in the activities. Encouraging children to play independently not only makes their play more meaningful, but also gives them the confidence to take appropriate risks, set objectives, explore problems, and develop persistence.
- Helps in Physical Development
Play-based activities can enhance motor abilities, which in turn can aid in the development of physical capabilities. Whether it’s running, catching a ball, or riding a tricycle, these activities force kids to engage their muscles and develop their coordination. Children can improve their strength, agility, and balance while they play. All of these are essential to their physical well-being.
Play-based learning is an effective strategy that opens up a world of opportunities for kids’ development. Children are given the freedom to explore, create, and form meaningful connections with the world around them when play is incorporated into the learning process. Play-based learning has numerous advantages, from better social and emotional development to increased cognitive and problem-solving skills. Children are inspired, involved, and thrilled to actively participate in their own education when they are in a play-based atmosphere. Children who are raised in environments that value play-based learning both at home and in schools develop into well-rounded adults with the creativity, adaptability, and skills necessary to prosper in a world that is changing rapidly.