Humans learn best through first-hand experiences, including children. That’s why play forms such an important part of early learning..
Learning through play or play-based learning is a pedagogical approach where play is the valued mode of learning – where children can explore, experiment, discover, and solve problems in imaginative and playful ways. Our home-based educators recognise the stimulus play-based learning brings into the learning for children in their care. As a result, play is at the heart of the early learning supported by Home2Grow.
- distinct from the broader concept of play, learning through play is:
- characterised by engagement with high levels of involvement, engrossment and intrinsic motivation
- imaginative, creative, and non-literal
- voluntary or freely chosen. It is often child-initiated and free from externally imposed rules
- fluid and active but not totally unguided
- process-driven rather than product-driven, with no extrinsic goals
Play can take different forms. It could include exploratory play with objects, physical play, pretend, fantasy or dramatic play. Games, similar activities involving explicit rules, constructive play (such as music or art), language play (e.g. rhyming) and outdoor play are all common categories of play based learning.
Why play based learning is important for your child?
- quality, play-based learning can help develop language, memory and behavioural skills
- helps shape social and emotional development in a child
- creative and self-initiated play is researched to make children more independent and set them up for later success in learning
- children learn about positive outcomes of play, including problem solving and persistence
- improves general cognitive development
- How can play-based learning be encouraged?
Our home-based educators adopt a wide range of techniques to encourage play-based learning.
- introduce manipulatives such as playdough, sand, clay and watercolours, shapes and textures are great for creative play
- head outdoors. Away from the screen, the parks, bush or any other outdoor space is teeming with experiences that are ideal for learning
- encourage free time. Children learn how to self-regulate while enjoying the freedom to explore their environments when given ample free time each day
- find and provide children junk material – cardboards, used paper, lids and bottle caps, tubes … – you’ll be amazed at what children can create from these
- blocks (poro rakau) unearth a plethora of learning, from balance, height and weight to hand-eye coordination, confidence and co-operation
- carpentry can help children gain greater control over their bodies, problem solving, creativity and more
- family and dramatic play help children make sense of what’s happening around them. It can help them socialise, communicate and express their feelings
This is a short list of nearly limitless play-based learning opportunities our home-based educators around Auckland facilitate on a daily basis. Their role in this approach cannot be underestimated as they enable the play and support it when needed by the child. Facilitating social skills and helping children interpret their creations is also a key role of home-based educators.
Keen to see play-based learning in action and how it helps little minds grow? Contact Home2Grow on 0508 466 324
or submit an online enquiry form today.