What is Play-Based Learning and Why is it Important?
So, What is Play-Based Learning and why is it Important, I’m glad you asked. You see will when children play, it’s more than just ‘playing’. During their playtime, they get to learn valuable skills including physical and cognitive development when they’re exploring their interests. Therefore, play is a vital necessity for the development of your child and it should not be side-lined.
Without a doubt, play-based learning is recently gaining momentum in the current curriculum. On top of the fact that it can enhance your child’s learning experience, play-based learning will also set up your kid to a successful future by teaching them relevant skills.
What is Play-Based Learning?
In this type of system, children are encouraged through natural motivation to play. The program builds on the motivation while using play to help the kids learn. Here, children get the chance to explore, discover, experiment and even solve problems in playful and imaginative ways.
Play-based learning is usually initiated by the children and supported by the teacher. That’s because the teacher encourages the kids through motivating interactions that would help the children develop higher thinking levels.
Why is it so important?
Play-based learning is fun for kids and they enjoy the experience. Here are other benefits that your kid could benefit from through play-based learning:
1. Encourages language skills
When children engage in play activities from an early age, they’re able to develop their language skills. More importantly, during pre-school, kids get the chance to develop their vocabulary by playing with other children and also interacting with adults.
Additionally, adults can support their kid’s language development through play. As a parent, you can ask a question, introduce unfamiliar words or even encourage conversations within the family. The context of play allows language skills to develop naturally and also learning is amplified since it’s enjoyable. Through play-based learning, kids learn a lot because the learning process is in a way that they can easily understand.
2. Develops emotional and social skills
Obviously, play-based learning will frequently involve several kids playing together. More importantly, this type of learning is closely associated with the development of social and emotional skills.
When kids get to play during circle time or cooperative games, they’ll be happy to experiment games with their friends. This plays an important role when it comes to developing a sense of belonging in the kids. Without a sense of belonging to a community, children will not be able to engage in most learning activities.
As kids play with each other, they learn how to use words to communicate their needs and also cooperate with the rest of the children. They also learn how to solve conflicts. More importantly, empathy and emotional growth happen during this period as kids learn about their motivations, feelings, and emotions towards others.
That is why it is important to provide such opportunities to your kids so that they get to engage in dramatized play and demonstrate ways to care and show empathy towards others. Play is also known as a stress release for children and they get to engage in a calm play especially when the day is ‘too much’ for them to handle. Calm play is therapeutic and it allows time for the brain to process the information and also recharge.
3. It’s a good support system for pre-literacy skills
When kids get to participate in play that involves rhymes and music, they’re able to develop pre-literacy skills. Examples of pre-literacy skills include sound recognition and listening skills.
Play activities such as reciting rhymes, singing songs will lay a good foundation for basic literacy and reading skills. Repetition, rhyme, and rhythm help kids to develop their memorization skills and also their ability to detect different sounds.
4. Promote imagination and creativity
Research has linked play with promoting imagination and creativity. These are some of the valued traits in the modern world. Also, through imagination, children can find answers to complex problems that they encounter in the world.
Promoting imagination in its ‘natural habitat’ that is playing, is a fundamental part of developing curiosity and hence raising a generation full of creative problem-solvers. However, you should always remember that play is something that children should freely and willingly choose to engage in. Play-based learning increases the brain’s flexibility and also improves the potential for learning later in life.
How does Play-Based learning compare with direct instructions?
Most of us reading this text have gone through the teacher-centered type of education system. As much as this type of teaching has a more structured approach that’s mainly focused on giving kids instruction based on academic skills, it still has its own limitations. Research shows that the rapidly growing play-based learning is even more effective in primary schools.
That’s because the learning outcome from children who’ve gone through play-based learning seems to be much higher when compared to traditional direct instructions. Unfortunately, research also shows that children going through direct instructions can experience negative effects.
Some of the effects experienced indirect instructions include, stress, behavior problems, and also a decrease in their motivation to learn. It’s even more common for children who are not ready for a more formal approach to education. Before these kids get to adjust into the direct instructions, they usually go through several stresses, and in most cases, a high number rejects going to school. As a parent, I’m sure you can relate to some of these effects.
That doesn’t mean that your child hates school. It only suggests that he/she has not adjusted to the education system they are in. Such moments can be daunting for both the parent and the child.
As you can see, play-based learning is one of the best ways to encourage your child to learn more about their environment. Much like the traditional learning style, play-based learning focuses on the child’s drive to explore and discover. This will help motivate your child to gain knowledge and mastery of his/her environment while at the same time promoting concentration and focus. These are incredible tools for kids in the 21st century.
CHIME IN: Have you tried Play-Based Learning with your child? Let us know in the comments below.
Talk to you soon,