Why Play Matters
Have you ever wondered about the premise behind preschool? Or, simply what your sons or daughters will take delight in pursuing once the drop off routine of apprehension or ease is complete? ~ The short answer is… they are learning about themselves and the world around them through play.
Welcome to our world of curiosity, exploration, social and emotional development and learning through play. As Early Childhood Educators, autumn is a time when we ponder and intentionally plan the journey our preschoolers will take over the course of the next ten months. As the days go by, and we embrace the gift of getting to know our new 3 and 4 year old groups, our vision begins to take shape and become a reality based on the interests, energy and enthusiasm of your children. Within the structure of the preschool morning lives the flexibility for each child to build independence and explore what it means to be “me,” as they develop a sense of self through a myriad of experiences with their peers and teachers.
Whether the best fit for your family is our two, three or five morning a week program, your child will receive the intrinsic benefits of indoor and outdoor play. You might be surprised to know that each component of the program is designed to encourage and promote the development of skills and abilities through play that will help prepare the children for their transition into kindergarten.
When children actively engage in play they are interacting with peers, which provides a natural opportunity to develop their blossoming language and social skills as they cultivate friendships, try new things and solve problems as they arise with the support of teachers as needed. Throughout the morning they will alternate between unstructured and structured play activities providing a variety of avenues for the children to build independence, share thoughts and ideas, make decisions and take responsibility for their choices and actions. These experiences foster self-confidence as they spend time away from home and learn to independently take care of their own needs. Responsibility is also introduced through what might be two new experiences for our preschoolers: 1) looking after their own belongings, and 2) sharing and taking care of the classroom toys and materials.
Play has typically been defined as engaging in an activity for enjoyment rather than a serious or practical pursuit; however, in preschool we do not adhere to this limiting definition. Play is important, as well as a powerful tool in promoting all areas of child development ranging from acquiring fine and gross motor skills to advancing cognitive and social-emotional capabilities. We are often asked, “Why is play important?” To answer this crucial question, we rely on the expertise and research of Dr. Deborah MacNamara, author of Rest Play Grow. Last spring, we had the privilege of participating in her professional development seminar. This experience has inspired our daily practice and programming, and we are excited to share her “Why Play Matters” infographic with you.
— Sherry Parker, ECE + Daycare Team Lead