In the Early Years programme, one of the challenges is the quintessential question- ‘What did you do in school today?’. One often hears the answer, “I enjoyed playing!” This is baffling for adults attuned to the idea of rote memorization and recall of information as learning. There is a misconception that play is frivolous and takes away time from study hours. However, the reality is– Play and Learning are deeply entwined.
As rightly said by Albert Einstein, “Combinatory play seems to be the essential feature in productive thought.”
Play in the Early Years:
The concept of play is well researched. The central idea of learning through play is that all domains of the child’s life connect seamlessly – home, school and the outer world.
Early learning and development in the IBPYP (International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme) supports the notion that students learn best through exploration and discovery of their environment. It provides opportunities for students to build critical thinking and develop the tools required to cope up with the ever-changing world.
Some of the evident benefits of learning through play are that children develop social habits, they make friends, respect others and learn to negotiate differences in point of view from an early age. It is during play that we see the attention span being built and we see children concentrating and exhibiting perseverance. They are watching, listening, exploring and imitating. They explore various things around them to connect to real-life through unstructured and structured play. These are the skill sets on which the future academic success rests.
Integrating Play into the School curriculum: The IBPYP way
The IBPYP programme at Oakridge, one of the top International Schools in Mohali ensures that the children get this benefit in school. The concept-driven curriculum demands that content be broadly explored with meaningful connections and real-life experiences.
Learning and role play centers, clay modeling, board games, life-size games such as hopscotch and snakes and ladders are a few examples of how students are learning in Oakridge. Upon seeing the impact of play in learning, the classroom schedules are planned with time dedicated to free play. Play-based learning has shown time and again that students develop conceptual understanding, make better connections and most importantly develop the skills required for the future!
Parents too can ensure ‘Learning through Play’
• Limit screen time and spend time outdoors: When children are outdoors they think, question, make a hypothesis and develop creative minds.
• Invent scenarios: Let children pretend play. Children learn to try different roles, use relevant vocabulary, they learn to organize their thoughts and develop social skills.
• Art: Art fosters creative expression. Along with developing fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination, the child has the freedom and can exercise choice and above all has the joy of a new creation.
Imagination is the door to possibilities and play helps in developing imagination and creativity. In the future, these are critical for success. So let’s work at helping our children learn through play.