Play is the one of the most important things a child can do. It is one of the cornerstones of our experience in Prep at Illawarra Christian School. It forms the basis of the way we teach and is how our children learn so many new things. At ICS Prep we are proud to have a play-based curriculum.
Dr Fred Donaldson—an internationally-renowned expert on play—said, “Children learn as they play. More importantly, in play, children learn how to learn.”
Through play, children are problem solving, as well as exploring their world and the amazing things God has created. They are challenging themselves, learning social skills, taking risks, learning to read and write, learning about numbers and letters and processing emotions. These are only some of the benefits of play. But the most important thing about play is that it is fun and it encourages learning.
Serious work? Or serious play?
Too often we worry that children are not doing enough ‘work’! We worry that they are not spending enough time in teacher-directed activities—but the reality is, if we let children play in an environment that is set up to meet their needs, strengths and interests they will learn so much more. Maria Montessori—a pioneer in early childhood education—said, “Play is the work of the child.”
So next time you see children playing, or you sit with your child while they play, think of all the wonderful new things they are learning and discovering.
At Prep we are often amazed with the new ideas and concepts children discover. The look on a child’s face when they discover something for the first time is the most rewarding part of our job as teachers.
Why not spend some time playing and see what new things you discover?