Early childhood educators understand the power of play in early education. Parents may think their child is just having fun, but play develops your child's cognitive, social, and emotional skills.
In fact, play is so important that the American Academy of Pediatrics released a study that shows children develop a range of skills to help develop and manage stress. The study shows that play with parents and peers help to promote social-emotional, cognitive, language, and self-regulation skills. Sounds important, right?
Let's take a look at why play is important for early education!
Develop Secure Attachments
As your child plays and develops, he starts to foster secure attachments to his educators, family, and peers. Children need strong relationships in order to feel support, secure, and safe. This secure feeling plays a part in your child's happiness and self-esteem.
A child's brain undergoes rapid development throughout the first year of life. Play is intellectual, whether we realize it or not, and it helps to develop his cognitive skills. Play shapes the structural development of the brain.
It starts off by your child learning how to coordinate his movements. An infant has to learn how to coordinate his hands to reach out for that colorful rattle. Over time, these problems become more complex, but play gives your child opportunities to practice and make mistakes as he learns.
Speech and Language Development
As your child plays, he listens and watches. He explores and imitates what he sees and hears. Even if your child is quietly playing with his blocks, they are learning information and are absorbing new vocabulary. Kids are little sponges, soaking up all of the information they can!
Play lays the foundation for literacy as well! Kids learn how to make new sounds and have ample opportunities to practice those sounds. Your child will try out these new words and sounds with you and his friends.
Learn to Regulate Their Behavior
Parents, rejoice. At some point, your child can, for the most part, regulate his behavior. Kids play and develop learning skills, such as how to concentrate on one task at a time. He learns how to take turns and how to share. In time, these skills will come together and help him learn how to regulate his behaviors and emotions.
Play is Important for Kids
Early education should revolve around playing. Not only is it one of the best ways to bond with your child, but it also helps them in so many other ways!
Through play, your child will sort out and cope with his struggles. For example, your child may go to the doctors and have to receive a shot. That's upsetting for a young child.
Now, he goes home and wants to play doctor. He gives the dog a pretend shot. He gives his baby doll a shot and makes the doll pretend to cry. Your child may want to give you a shot! All of these actions help your child cope and process his experiences. It's a useful tool for stress and coping mechanisms.
The next time your child wants to play instead of working on learning, don't worry. He is learning, just in his own special way.