Why is play such a big part of most early childhood programs? It’s the foundation for planning, flexible thinking, strengthening memory skills, problem solving, self-control, persistence, the ability to use symbols, and much more. It’s clear: when you watch children play, alone or with others, you’re watching development occur. When you support and encourage play, you’re helping development occur.
Look around…you might even spot a local expert on play sitting under a kitchen table. That’s where I found my daughter at the age of three playing with some toy animals and a cake pan. After numerous minutes of watching the horse, zebra and giraffe all take a drink from the cake pan…I observed the following:
*practiced planning as she decides where each animal will stand. *used flexible thinking as she solves the problem of making the giraffe stand up. *memorized the original order of the animals and recreated it after moving them. *engaged in symbolic thought and representation by pretending the cake pan is a pond and the toys are real animals. *strengthened her self-control and her ability to be persistent by overcoming her annoyance at the giraffe.
Early childhood programs take play seriously for a good reason…play is important! Karen
Posted by karen on Monday, November 09, 2009 10:48 PM