When children in elementary school are actively engaged in their education, they experience growth in all aspects of their development: intellectually, physically, socially, and emotionally.
A few years ago, I began employing a curriculum that is centered on children’s play in the kindergarten class that I teach. The positive effects of play on children’s health and development in areas such as cognition, socialization, and emotion were praised in a number of scientific studies. These studies brought to mind Friedrich Froebel’s conception of kindergarten as a place where play and education go hand in hand.
As I made some minor modifications to my classroom in order to better accommodate this vital learning style, I became aware of the significance of play to the growth and well-being of children. Play is essential to their ability to learn. Additionally, it assists in the development of skills such as working together with others and thinking outside the box. However, play-based learning is an effective practice for deepening understanding and engaging children. However, it can be challenging to offer play when mandated programs and standardized tests are requirements in many school districts. Play-based learning is an effective practice for deepening understanding and engaging children. The challenge lies in finding a happy medium between stringent academic standards and the requirements of young students.
My research on children’s play led me to discover that in order for children to fully engage both their bodies and minds in their play, they require time, space, and materials with a specific purpose. Activities and transitions that are directed by the teacher are not a suitable substitute for opportunities that promote exploration, creativity, and socialization.
A “choice time” structure that is based on the ideas presented in the book Choice Time: How to Deepen Learning Through Inquiry and Play gives children in grades PreK-2 the opportunity to learn through play. This opportunity is provided to the children as a result of the structure. Academic performance is improved during early morning recess, and the environment in the classroom becomes more harmonious as a result. My students have 30 minutes of free time during the literacy block in the morning, and they have another 45 minutes of free time at the end of the school day.
The classroom has been organized in a way that will engage their intellects, appeal to their senses, and give them valuable experience working with academic content. Our classroom is equipped with a variety of centers, including a block area, a math area, a science area, a book nook, a play area, a sensory table, a felt board, and an art area. Many of the resources housed in each hub may be borrowed by other hubs for their own use.
When activities are arranged in purposeful centers, children are able to move freely from one to the next without their train of thought being disrupted. At the art center, children are able to create virtually anything they can think of. An old overhead projector from the science center has been set up for viewing alongside a collection of natural artifacts, including pine cones, tree bark, and other items. The math center offers various opportunities for geometric construction, including the use of Cuisenaire rods, pattern blocks, and counting grids, among other mathematical manipulatives. The block center is where children’s imaginations can really take off.
Even gving a child access to the most fundamental materials, which are the source of their creativity and invention, can have a significant positive impact on the child’s capacity for learning.
Providing supplementary materials is done so with the intention of prompting a more in-depth examination of a topic. For instance, a scientific investigation of worms could lead students to the garden later on in the spring, after the sensory table has been filled with soil at that point.
Learning is something that can be accomplished through play.
When I first heard about play-based learning, I was hesitant to implement it because I was concerned that it would interfere with my ability to teach district-mandated programs and address necessary academic standards and assessments. Simply by observing how young children think and learn while they were playing, I was able to pick up a lot of useful information. Because I had all of this information at my disposal, I was able to fulfill their particular requirements with greater success.
Children were more motivated to investigate curricular norms within their play because of the personal relevance of the content they were exploring. When the children read the book Miss Maple’s Seeds in the fall of 2016, they were mesmerized by Eliza Wheeler’s use of her imagination in the process of creating the illustrations and the story for the book. They started to ponder the process that was used to create the book. After hearing about the various stages that go into the production of a book, one of the children in our group exclaimed, “We can make books, too!” A few minutes later, a group of children made their way to the art room to begin creating their own books.
Story writing is an activity that is best done in a group setting and requires proficient communication skills in the areas of listening, speaking, and writing. Since then, bookmaking has evolved into a well-liked pastime that has spread throughout all facets of the educational system.
During the winter break, one of the students in my class created a number book and brought it to our math circle to show off. Quickly, a plethora of different number books emerged, each featuring a distinctive spin on the topic. One kid got the idea to write a book about the number 10. A friend jumped up from the table to offer assistance, making a reference to the number grid that was mounted on the wall. As was to be expected, 200 people joined right away.
These children were given the opportunity to investigate mathematical concepts at their own pace, and by doing so, they contributed to the understanding of the concepts held by other children. An educational consultant by the name of Mike Anderson calls this type of “self-differentiation” (also known as the “zone of proximal development”) the place where education is “most effective” and “enjoyable.”
BE AWARE OF THE PROGRESSION OF CHILDREN
Because children learn best through play, it is essential to know how to facilitate that for them. In order for our students to mature and become successful, our pedagogy, much like a tree, requires a solid foundation in child development.
My students improved their ability to focus, their enthusiasm for learning, and their sense of purpose in the classroom after taking part in play-based lessons. They experienced an increase in their overall level of contentment. The use of play in my classroom has assisted in the establishment of order, increased student engagement, and helped to strengthen our learning community.
There are many advantages to incorporating play into the educational process for students in elementary school. It makes the learning process more enjoyable and engaging for them, which in turn improves their overall educational experience. Students have a better chance of maintaining focus, remembering information, and developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills if their education includes elements of play, such as educational games and interactive activities. Playing also encourages social interaction and teamwork, which gives students the opportunity to develop their communication and teamwork skills. In addition to this, it assists in the reduction of stress and anxiety, thereby making the atmosphere conducive to learning more positive and nurturing. You can investigate a different domain of leisure and recreation that places an emphasis on the significance of play in a variety of settings by reading the blog titled “The Most Popular Cruises.” This blog highlights how the incorporation of play can lead to enjoyable experiences both inside and outside of the classroom. Check it out on Slingo.com.