Play is the Way!
The research in early childhood education shows that play is essential for healthy child development. Play allows children to learn to be imaginative, creative and collaborative. It teaches children how to problem solve, strengthens and lengthens their attention span and more. You might be wondering, how is that really possible. Think about the simple game of chase. At first glance it might not look like much. In fact, it can look like chaos to the untrained eye. When you put the game of chase under the microscope, you'll see many layers of learning. In the first layer there is the chaser and the chasee. There is so much more under the surface. The minute one child decides they don't like their role, negotiations are needed or the game is over. The children quickly learn that in order to keep the game going they have to be a good friend and collaborate. Do they want to keep playing chase or play something else? If they want to continue to play chase, what are the rules and what are their roles? Are they kids, cats or jaguars? Who will be the chaser first? Is there a base? Having the freedom to play this way encourages creativity and collaboration, and this relates directly to their future learning. These skills - learned through play- will serve them well for their entire lives.