What is play based learning? Erica Daniels and Angela Pyle of the University of Toronto defined play based learning as:
Play-based learning is essentially having fun while learning. Even though the specific definition of play and the kinds of activities that qualify as play are still up for debate in the academic world, play-based learning is distinct from the more broad concept of play.
The idea of play-based learning requires learning, even if it is not a need for an activity to be termed play. Studies that have reviewed the benefits of this approach have focused mostly on two different forms of play: free play, which is directed by the children themselves, and guided play, which is playing with some level of instructor direction or interaction.
Children are naturally good at playing. In this environment, kids can explore, experiment, learn, and solve problems using their imaginations and playful nature.
It includes both student- and teacher-supported learning. The teacher encourages learning and interest in the pupils by engaging them in discussions that test their ideas.
For instance, as the children play with blocks, a teacher can pose questions that encourage problem-solving, prediction, and hypothesizing. The teacher can also introduce the student to reading, math, and scientific ideas so they can apply them in real-world situations.
Play based learning
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There are two types of this learning approach as mentioned by Daniels and Pyle: free play and guided play.
Play that is child-directed, voluntary, inwardly motivated, and joyful is often referred to as free play. Sociodramatic play is one sort of unstructured play that is usually encouraged.
In this type of play, groups of kids create and abide by social rules like pretending to be different family members in order to engage in imaginative role-playing.
Guided play, on the other hand, describes play activities when adults are involved to some extent in order to expand or integrate additional learning opportunities within the play itself.
Play-based learning approach vs direct instruction
Long-term benefits have been discovered for high-quality play-based kindergarten programs where children are exposed to learning and problem-solving through self-initiated activities and teacher instruction.
The teacher-centered methods used to educate young children’s foundational academic skills are taught through play-based learning. Recent research shows that play-based learning programs outperform direct instruction methods in terms of learning outcomes for youngsters.
Why is play based learning important?
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Play-based learning has been shown in numerous studies to significantly and favorably affect students’ learning and development. According to Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek, a prominent expert on child development and a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution as well as a Professor of Psychology at Temple University: Children learn best when at least one of these pillars is present:
- People actively participate in the educational environment.
- They are engaged.
- Information is worthwhile.
- Students interact with one another socially.
Therefore, this method is a productive learning environment for children because it encourages mental activity, engagement, socializing, and the capacity to make connections to one’s own life.
What is play based learning in early years develop
Social and emotional skills
Play-based learning is essential to a child’s development of social and emotional skills, including the capacity to build enduring relationships with peers. Playing with one another teaches kids how to get along, work together, communicate clearly, solve difficulties, and settle arguments.
Activities help children develop their gross and fine motor skills. Play-based learning like throwing, climbing, running, and leaping helps children develop their balance, hand-eye coordination, and overall motor skills. Fine motor skills can be developed through play activities such as painting, construction, roleplaying, and drawing.
Creativity and imagination
Children may believe that imagination and creativity come naturally, but in reality, these are qualities that must be learned. It also helps children deal with both real and made-up situations in their lives.
This is why the self-directed aspect of play-based learning is so important—play must be freely chosen in order to foster a creative atmosphere.
What is play based learning in early childhood?
The following components of this kind of learning are the following:
- Your child has independent decisions when, how, and how long to play. A game may be started by an adult by asking or proposing it, but all other features are under the child’s control.
- The kid loves and enjoys to play. This emotional component is quite significant. Playing can be frustrating or contentious at times, but it’s usually enjoyable.
- Unstructured: While playing, a youngster has many possibilities to explore and learn. They follow their own interests rather than any established plans or methods.
- Process-oriented: Learning is a continuous process with no beginning or end. Play is valuable because of its method rather than its content.
- It frequently involves imagination, “playing pretend” or “make believe.”
Play based learning activities
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Here are some play-based learning examples from Sitters Co UK:
1. Playing with water
Through water play, kids can safely experiment with fundamental concepts like volume.
Children that dress up are more likely to socialize and begin to comprehend the interests, roles, and world of adults. Additionally, dressing up encourages self-care practices that are essential for success in elementary school.
3. Play-based learning examples: Playing with sand
Playing in the sand is a great way to lay the foundation for scientific learning as well as for boosting self-esteem and physical development. Scooping, excavating, pouring, and sifting help kids build their muscles and hand-eye coordination while they learn how things work.
4. Blocks and jigsaw puzzles
Playing with blocks, jigsaw puzzles, and shape sorters lay the foundation for spatial thinking, logical reasoning, ordering, and the ability to distinguish between different shapes, sizes, and colors.
5. Drawing and painting
By allowing children unrestricted access to paints and sketching tools, parents can encourage self-expression, sensory exploration, and the development of pre-writing skills in their children. It also urges you to learn about color theory, mixing, and everything art!
6. Dancing and singing
Children begin to develop their rhythmic sense and listening skills through music. Through dancing, the youngster develops flexibility, strength, and coordination.
7. Active play like jumping and running
Young children are always moving around. Kids can develop resilience and self-assurance by taking calculated risks if they are given the flexibility to do this and are presented with challenges that are safe and age-appropriate. Gross motor skills are also enhanced in this kind of learning method.