Child care in Cannington or any Perth suburb is subject to the Australian EYLF, or Early Years Learning Framework. The Framework is also referred to as “Belonging, Being and Becoming.” One of the major acknowledgments of the EYLF is that children learn better through play. EYLF calls it “play-based learning,” but we call it “learning through play.”
Learning through play is our motto at each Cuddles Childcare Centre in the Perth area. We do everything we can to provide play activities that help your child learn. But why do we believe in “learning through play”? Because numerous studies show that it works.
Children learn better when they are having fun and are fully engaged with their world. Philosophers such as Rousseau and Locke knew the efficacy of learning through play. Thanks to the EYLF, we know it in this era, too.
What the EYLF Says about Play-Based Learning
The EYLF defines play-based learning as: “a context for learning in which children organise and make sense of their social worlds, as they actively engage with people, objects and representations.”
They describe play-based learning as having a number of characteristics.
Pleasurable play is an activity in which the child derives pleasure and enjoyment. Even though there are frustrations, fears and challenges, enjoyment is the overriding emotion.
Symbolic play is defined as pretend play that often has a “what if” quality. It is noted that the educator doesn’t always know or have to know what the symbolic aspects mean to the child.
Active play is defined as play that requires action, which is further defined as physical, mental or verbal engagement with ideas, people, materials or the environment.
Voluntary play is defined as that which is chosen freely. Often, a child is invited to play and chooses to join.
Process oriented play is defined as play that may not have a goal or an endgame, but is “a means unto itself.”
Self-motivating play is defined as play that acts as its own reward to the player.
In 2008, Play England produced a study by S. Lester and S. Russell called, “Play for a change. Play policy and practice: A review of contemporary perspectives.” The results of that study indicate that play changes the structure of a child’s brain. Stimulation and secure attachments are known to be crucial to brain development in children. Play allows children to engage in “active exploration” that helps the brain create neurological pathways. According to the study, play can help create a brain that possesses “increased flexibility and improved potential for learning later in life.”
When children play, they explore, identify, take risks, negotiate and take meaning. High quality play experiences are likely to enhance memory skills, regulation of behaviour, language development and social skills. This leads to the enhancement of academic learning and social adjustment, not only in school, but throughout life.
At Cuddles Childcare Centres, we strive to provide the highest quality play experiences for your children because we know that it will help them throughout their lives. Besides, we love seeing children have fun.
The Recommended Guidelines for Learning Through Play
EYLF recommends a loose set of guidelines for play that promotes health and wellbeing while developing many different kinds of motor skills. They recommend that all child care centres provide a daily schedule that includes active play, both indoors and outdoors. Creative expression, movement and music should also be incorporated. They also recommend that adults engage in active play with the children from time to time for role modelling.
Building Social Competence
According to Lester and Russell, 2008, play helps children define social and physical space among their peers. In other words, they develop social competence. They learn to create relationships, resolve conflict, negotiate with their peers to create shared outcomes and regulate their behaviours to adhere to societal norms.
Children become acclimated to making their own choices; this produces optimism and increased self-esteem. In addition, nearly every trait that marks an effective learner is developed through play. These include: curiosity, resilience, optimism, openness, creativity and focus.
Contact your nearest Cuddles Childcare Centre to learn more.