Preschoolers learn differently than school-aged children. They need to use their own exploration and curiosity to develop the skills necessary to learn. The best way a preschooler can build these skills is through play. Play based learning promotes mental and physical development in a way that standard school work can’t. There are many reasons for this but three of the main reasons are because children are better able to learn from activities that interest them, they use their imagination through make believe and playing pretend and they build strong self-confidence.
Children are better able to learn from activities that interest them. If they are intrigued by a topic they will be more motivated and inspired to use their imagination. In addition, they will be more likely to remember what they learned because the skills and concepts they learned will be meaningful to them. Learning is always more fun when it’s something you are passionate about!
Make believe and playing pretend is more than just fun for kids, it teaches many important skills to assist in future learning. For instance, when a child uses their imagination to pretend a cardboard box is a space rocket they are using the box as a representation and learning how a symbol can refer to something else. We use many symbols in our everyday life including letters, words and numbers! Pretending also teaches kids to think abstractly and is connected to early literacy, mathematical thinking and problem solving!
Play based learning builds self-confidence in children. If a child is taught exactly how to do something they are just memorizing steps, whereas when a child learns something through play they are able to experiment and figure things out on their own. This will encourage confidence, curiosity, motivation and competence.
So now that you know why play based learning is so important, what can you do to encourage learning through play with your own child? First, ensure you have an ample supply of playthings that encourage creativity such as blocks, play dough, dolls, animals, balls and art supplies. Also, show your child that it’s ok to play with ordinary household objects and help them turn your house into a magical kingdom or underwater city! Next, be sure to ask your child questions as they are playing and point things out that you notice (“Oh, wow! The red block is much bigger than the green block!”). Lastly, sign your child up for a preschool programme that encourages play based learning such as I Can Read’s newest programme, I Can Inspire.
If you’re interested in learning more about I Can Inspire–International Preschool Programme and to find out how you can receive 3 free trial days, please call our:
Hotline at 01234 178 819.