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The Importance Of Play By Donna

What is play based learning?

At Long Jetty Pre-School we believe children learn best through play, with educators providing a curriculum of experiences that are meaningful, invite exploration and the flexibility to be used by all children, in their own way.

Each child is encouraged and supported in choosing their own experiences, ones that reflect their interests and allow them to show they are unique and capable in control of their own learning.

By now, many of you may have experienced your child’s excitement and immense pride in sharing with you a “Box Construction”. You may not realise that this is the result of many moments of learning through careful thought and planning, experimenting and trial and error. As the children spend time painting, pasting, sticking and exploring with new and various techniques and equipment, they are continually learning through their play.

The educators at Long Jetty Pre-School are yet to discover a child who doesn’t love a full roll of sticky tape to explore measurement, estimation, fine motor skills and of course that sensory experience of the sound!

A painting or drawing created with their choice of utensils lovingly tells their story to the people around them, and also provides the opportunity to explore texture, persistence, colour, hand eye co-ordination and proportion, just to name a few.

By courageously attempting a new skill such as cutting with scissors or putting their own belongings away, they are building essential life skills such as confidence, resilience and a sense of achievement.

Materials such as Playdough or clay from the garden help children develop the important fine motor strength required to write their name or the ability to build on their language and relationship skills as they describe to those around them what they have created.

Through the simple experience of digging in the sand and burying plastic pipes with their friends or making a “potion” or cake in the mud pit kitchen, they are learning about depth, measurement, co-operation and compromise.

These are just a small number of the amazing experiences the children enjoy on a day to day basis at Pre-School and experiences that can easily be accommodated at home.

To an adult, these may sound like just having lots of messy fun, however to the children these are all rich learning experiences, chosen specifically and purposefully by them to engage in, providing many opportunities for educators and the adults around them to interact with, and extend on, the many concepts they are exploring.

The simple things can be the most beautiful. One of the most rewarding things an educator can experience is sharing a child’s wonder in a carboard box, their expression as they discover a leaf that is a beautiful colour or a rock that is an unusual shape or simply drawing with a set of pencils that seem extra special because that are presented in a wooden box or tin.

Children have the innate ability to see beauty and wonder in the most ordinary of things and given the opportunity to use and see these things through in their own way, and through their own eyes, opens up a world of learning opportunities in any environment at any time.

“Play is the highest form of research”


-Albert Einstein-


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