What is Play-Based Learning and What Makes it Right for Your Child?

What is Play-Based Learning and What Makes it Right for Your Child?

Play-based learning is a term commonly hear around educational circles. In fact, children spend much of their time already enveloping themselves in play-based learning through their own open-ended play experiences. When children get together, they are often seen “playing house” or “cops and robbers” so without even realizing it, they are using their imaginations to

Play-based learning is a term commonly hear around educational circles. In fact, children spend much of their time already enveloping themselves in play-based learning through their own open-ended play experiences. When children get together, they are often seen “playing house” or “cops and robbers” so without even realizing it, they are using their imaginations to create worlds of their own from which to learn and grow both intellectually and socially. Check out a great resource at https://juniperdays.com

The Difference Between the Classroom and Play-Based Learning

We are all familiar with the classroom setting designed for reading and writing, but that’s not along the same lines as play-based learning. Where a traditional classroom style of education comes in the form of work, concentration, and repetition, play-based learning relies on a fun playtime experience that is led entirely by the children involved.

In basic terms, if the activity has a preformulated agenda, like singing a song to learn the alphabet, then it is not play-based learning, which features these elements:

  • – The child chooses the type of play, how it’s played, and the duration
  • – It’s fun and the child wants to participate
  • – The unstructured aspect allows the child to take any direction they choose because it is what interests them
  • -There is no set goal, rather the process is what matters
  • -Imagination is key as children often play “make-believe”

Theory and practice are both differentiating factors between play-based learning and academic learning.

Play-based learning deals with developing:

  • -Social and emotional skills
  • -Confidence
  • -Motivation
  • -Cognitive abilities

Academic learning is designed more to teach through structure and routine in a more informational-based approach. It still may be fun, but it is not motivated by play or the child’s ideas and interests.

The Benefits of Play-Based Learning

There are benefits and drawbacks of both play-based learning and traditional academics. Which path you choose for your child will depend on what you want from early education programs and how your child likes to learn.

Play-Based Learning allows the child the freedom to choose their activities, which holds their interest. And, the child can develop their social skills in preparation for the classroom setting. They will be better prepared to self-regulate, will have great cognitive flexibility, and increased memory capacity.

However, there may not be exposure to learning basic academic concepts like letters and numbers.

Meanwhile, children in the academic stream will be more familiar with such concepts. Although, they may lose interest at times as they are told what to learn rather than making all the decisions themselves. But this does not also lead to faster cognitive development. Plus, unlike an imagination-guided play, which instills self-confidence, academic learning at such an early age can make a child feel embarrassed for achieving the wrong answers.

Play-based learning is a great option for families who want to use an early education opportunity to focus on self-growth, social skills, and emotional stability in their children. Discuss play-based learning with your projected school for more insight to make the right choice for your child.

Chris Marks
ADMINISTRATOR
PROFILE

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