Importance of Learning Through Play in Early Childhood

Today's educators emphasised the 4Cs in Early Education - Collaboration, Communication, Creativity & Critical Thinking, and play is fundamentally important for learning these 21st-century skills that are critical for adult success.

This article further stressed the importance of learning through play. “Play engages children’s attention in authentic, hands-on tasks. It offers choice and a challenge that is within a child’s capacity to master in a stress-free environment.” says Dr Robyn Anderson Lecturer of Early Childhood and Education in JCU Singapore.

Play is not frivolous: it enhances brain structure and function and promotes executive function (ie, the process of learning, rather than the content), which allows the child to pursue goals and ignore distractions.

Through guided play with the use of educational resources, children acquire these essential skills which they will carry through life:

1. Critical Thinking through problem solving and learning cause and effect

2. Collaboration & Communication by learning how to play with others through compromise, conflict resolution and sharing

3. Development of fine and gross motor skills

4. Nurturing their creativity and imagination

5. Boost their confidence through discovering their independence and positive self-esteem

According to this white paper, optimal learning through play happens when the activity (1) is experienced as joyful, (2) helps children find meaning in what they are doing or learning, (3) involves active, engaged, minds-on thinking (4) involves iterative thinking (e.g., experimentation, hypothesis testing), and (5) involves social interaction.

The selection of these characteristics is based on the theory presented by Hirsh-Pasek, Zosh, Golinkoff, Gray, Robb, & Kaufman (2015) where they provide evidence that a deep, conceptual understanding requires that children are active (minds-on) and engaged (not distracted) with meaningful material especially in socially interactive contexts.

Specifically, the activities in Squizzel Box are designed based on these 5 characteristics (fun, meaningful, engaging, involves iterative thinking and promotes parent child interaction) to support optimal learning through play. Order your first Squizzel Box today and embark on an exciting learning journey with your kids!

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