Importance of Play
Play is natural for young ones. Children from all around the world and from all cultures engage in play, and although the types of play and purposes for play can be different across ages and cultures, play to a child IS learning.
Early childhood experts know that children learn best through free play and discovery.
Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. It is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact in the world around them.
Undirected play allows children to learn how to work in groups, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts, and to learn self-advocacy skills. Self-directed play leads to feelings of confidence and self-competence. When play is allowed to be child driven, children practice decision-making skills, move at their own pace, discover their own areas of interest, and ultimately engage fully in the passions they wish to pursue. Children's free play typically is pleasurable, self-motivated, imaginative, non-goal directed, spontaneous, active, and free of rules imposed by adults. Play enables children to children to create and explore a world they can master.
It also offers parents a wonderful opportunity to engage fully with your children.
Play has been seen to have significant importance in the lives of children for years and years, so much so, that the recently developed Early Years Learning Framework has included it as one of the important pedagogical practices to promote childrens learning - “Planning and implementing learning through play” (p14).
Play-based learning is described in the EYLF as 'a context for learning through which children organise and make sense of their social worlds, as they actively engage with people, objects and representations' (EYLF, 2009, p. 46).
Perhaps above all, play is a simple joy that is a cherished part of childhood.