When I was in the classroom, we would sing a song about “work and play.” But really in preschool, those words are synonymous. Play is a child’s work. KUM Preschool provides a strong foundation in early learning through a play-based environment. In this day and age, when school standards and community expectations dictate the path for children’s growth and development, it is important to rely on research and teacher knowledge to understand what children really need to succeed.
Children Need to Play: When children play, it brings joy. During play, children learn through hands-on experiences and social interactions. Learning occurs within these positive experiences.
Play Is Innate: Children experience life with a playful spirit. They also have the insatiable drive to learn and grow. Teachers have the ability to combine these attributes to create an environment where children can investigate and explore. Within this context, children will work tirelessly and joyfully to perfect a skill set.
Play benefits all children: Playful activities are directly linked to the Missouri Early Learning Standards. Some of these benefits include:
- Improving gross and fine motor skills.
- Using cognitive skills.
- Practice and engage in problem solving situations.
- Foster creativity and imagination.
- Improve language development, including vocabulary, sharing of ideas and comprehension.
- Better ability to take on the perspective of another using higher intellectual competence.
- Better peer cooperation and conflict resolution.
- Learning how to handle emotions and self-regulate behaviors.
- Develop leadership skills and responsibility.
- Practice math skills such as comparing and contrast, counting and estimation.
- Experience the scientific process through inquiry, and trial and error.
But play cannot happen alone. A teacher joins the child in his journey of growth and development through play. Teachers begin by creating a engaging classroom environment primed for playful interactions. Teachers stand by within the classroom to help children enter play, offer ways to communicate and problem solve, redirect undesired behaviors, facilitate social interactions, and connect academic standards to the daily experience.
Play is necessary. Play is powerful. Play activates resources that stimulate emotional, social, and intellectual growth in the child, which in turn affects the child’s success in school. Play is important in a preschool setting. It is valued at KUM.