As children grow up, parents have a lot of responsibility to carry. We have to make sure that our kids are receiving the best education possible, even from 18 months and on. However, we also need to ensure that through this education our children can express themselves creatively. Although our children are young and we want to prepare them for the future the best we can, sometimes we need to take a step back and make sure that we are still allowing them to be children by playing through learning.
Accelerated Education Produces Counterproductivity
The question tends to surface whether a child should play to learn or learn and then play in their extra time. In the past few years, there has become an increase in the education a child should be receiving. Within preschool, play has become reduced to the leftover time, rules have been extended and promoted, and the emphasis on book smarts became the prime fountain of learning. Daycares and preschools within Calgary and throughout the nation are so intently focused on how well they can prepare children for grade school that they forget to let children be children. Childcare centres should be preparing our children to be productive, happy and healthy humans.
This approach to rote learning is displacing commonsense and the development of reasoning. Curriculums are being accelerated past the ability of a child’s developing mind. From 0 to 4 years old, children need to play. When a child plays, they discover and explore. Their creativity and imaginations are prioritized. Once creativity has been nurtured, learning can begin. If we were to think about it, a child will learn more problem solving and social skills playing outside and with toys than worksheets or an academic plan could ever produce.
Educate for a Child’s Development
Little Stars Calgary understands that stress grows with children, thus it is essential to provide them with the opportunity to play as an outlet for stress relief. With accelerated curriculums encouraged at preschool, children cannot grow at their own pace. It is essential that children are allowed to learn based on their development, not compared to their peers of the same grade. Brain development makes it easier to learn virtually everything as we get older. The younger a child is, the more educators and parents need to focus on their brain’s development through play-based learning so that as they grow up, they are prepared to keep pace with the standardized curriculum.
Play is learning with life experience enrichment. Within a child’s brain, life experiences will activate neurons that manifest new connections and strengthen existing connections. Unused connections are eliminated, known as synaptic pruning. In a child’s preschool years, brain cell pruning occurs more rapidly. Life experiences are required so that these connections are made. When experiences made through play-based learning are diminished and neglected, these connections are not built within the child’s brain.
Playtime is Essential
When we focus on a child’s needs throughout daycare and preschool, a foundation of learning is developed through play. With this, essential connections are built that allow a child to develop with a love to learn and the soft skills to do so. All great caregivers and teachers allow each child to develop according to their own pace. Interact with teachers and learn about the day to day activities of a Calgary preschool or daycare you’re interested in. There should be at least one hour of playtime for children, focused on the outdoors when the weather is suitable. Additionally, learning activities indoors should be focused toward allowing children to create, play, construct and socialize. Within these activities, literacy and numeric skills are derived.
Playing strengthens human skills, children cannot get into the highly sought after jobs acting like a robot. Dr. Hirsh-Pasek, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution notes that free play reduces stress and also “allows our kids to flex their entrepreneurial muscles.” Dr. Tamis-LeMonda says, “play is not a specific activity, it’s an approach to learning.” At Little Stars NE Calgary daycare and preschool, our caregivers and teachers embrace self-directed learning. From children aged 19 months to 6 years old, Little Stars offers a world-class curriculum that is child-directed and applies to play based principles. With one of the largest Calgary daycare playgrounds, offering 20,000 square feet of green space fenced on all sides, Little Stars makes your child’s learning through their natural development a priority. Book a tour any weekday between 9 am – 5 pm to learn more about how Little Stars enriches your child’s education and wellness through play based learning.