Why Play is important in Early Childhood
Studies have shown that playing provides a safe and necessary way for young learners to be able to practice and experience a variety of life skills, including problem-solving within a peer group while gaining and enhancing language skills. Through daily play, young children gain valuable
life experiences through a variety of roles that will support growth and ultimately translate into adulthood.
According to research, play is an essential aspect of the development of key skills including social, behavioural, language, and cognitive. These skills developed through play as young learners will grow into beneficial and essential skills used not only throughout childhood but also into adulthood.
An early childhood education setting should be a place where children discover a love for learning through a variety of play experiences. Current research shows how play has changed and even been eliminated in many early childhood settings. The benefits of play are crucial to allowing a child to develop appropriately. Children’s early years should be about fostering and developing their curiosity through a wide variety of play experiences.
Maria Montessori believed that play is “child’s work,” meaning that children are working when they are learning to eat with utensils. They are playing when they are provided with the opportunity to create their own utensils out of a variety of materials (wood, glue, string, tape). By adhering in some ways but not others to a tight, overall structure, Montessori education resembles playful learning.