During my time in a preschool this semester, it is clear that the students have plenty of time set aside for playing. This time includes outside gross motor, and choice time where they choice which center they want to work in. A common idea is that preschool teachers act as babysitters, where the students have days full of free, unstructured play and the teachers sit aside and supervise them. I would oppose that this play time is intentional and works to improve specific developmental skills as well as learning performance, where the teacher acts as a facilitator.
Taking play seriously
I’m sure when one of your friends ask you “How was placement?”, you might answer with something like “Good, I just played with kids all morning!”. But have you ever thought what effects this play time has on the children? According to thegaurdian.com, play improves language skills and reduces social emotional problems, which has positive implications for both their educational and everyday life. They also suggest a correlation between play and physical activity. When children have time to play, they are more motivated to move and stay fit. Playtime also gives opportunities to gain social skills. After all, this may be the only time a child interacts with other children throughout their day.
Play and learning
After reading an article on seriouslykids.org , It is clear to me that play allows experimentation and increases the potential for learning. Varies brain research has shown that playtime builds brain pathways and creates flexibility to learn. Playtime also allows students to explore things they have seen throughout their day and practice different skills.
Change your view on play
It is important, as a future educator, to understand that play is much more than free time, but a opportunity to learn and explore. However, it is important that we implement the positive components that make play so important throughout our future classrooms, as it will improve our students as both growing humans and learners!