More and more we are seeing the benefits of play based learning in early childhood. Play allows young children to explore, identify, negotiate, take risks and create meaning from their environment.
Play based learning is described as a “context for learning through which children organise and make sense of their social worlds, as they actively engage with people, objects and representations,” (Early Years Learning Framework, 2009).
There are a number of ways that play based games are important for early learning:
- The intellectual and cognitive benefits have been well documented. According to early childhood education experts, Elena Bodrova and Deborah Leong, children who engage in quality play experiences are more likely to have well-developed memory and language skills. Further, they are better prepared to regulate their behaviour, leading to enhanced school adjustment and academic learning.
- Play shapes the structural design of the brain. Secure attachments and stimulation are significant aspects of brain development. Play helps to create a brain that has increased “flexibility and improved potential for learning later in life,” (Lester and Russell, 2008).
- Play assists with the development of social competence. Children learn to build relationships, resolve conflicts, negotiate and regulate their own behaviour.
- Children can have enhanced feelings of success and optimism as they act independently and have the ability to make their own choices.
- Playing is a known stress release and is often linked to child wellbeing.
- Playing is linked to the development of resilience. Children experience empathy as they begin to understand the points of view from the perspective of their peers and role models.
- Children become open to the concept of learning as the experiences of curiosity and creativity are explored during play based activity.
At Bishop Tyrrell, we believe that children should be able to find and express their own voice. We celebrate childhood and encourage play based learning. Our early learners benefit from a colourful and inspiring environment full of opportunities to explore and create.
To experience how Bishop Tyrrell celebrates childhood, we welcome you at our next Open Day.