We’ve heard and seen the term used a lot, but what exactly is it? I’m a Primary Teacher by day and business Mama by night, and this is my take and professional judgement on ‘Learning Through Play’.
I will use research, professional development and my own experiences in the classroom to try and explain it the best I can. I will also offer some tips of how you can set up ‘provocations’ in your homes to encourage ‘play’.
What is Learning Through Play?
Well according to Wiki (not the best resource, but the best description) it’s:
“Learning through play is a term used in education and psychology to describe how a child can learn to make sense of the world around them. Through play children can develop social and cognitive skills, mature emotionally, and gain the self-confidence required to engage in new experiences and environments.”
It’s not just creating lessons or buying lots of toys in the hopes that your children will just play. It is much more than this.
How important is It?
A new study by expert Early Learning Education Officer Kim Moroney (Maitland-Newcastle Catholic Diocese), has highlighted the importance of ‘play’. The curriculum is over-crowded and kids these days are bombarded with lessons that require structure. At home, as mums we worry about our children being ‘bored’ or not developing enough. We sometimes end up buying more ‘stuff’ and organising a lot of structured activities or signing up for extra-curriculars. When do you let your children just play?
According to Miss Moroney, “play helps children develop key skills including critical thinking, problem solving, interpersonal abilities, emotional resilience and creativity.”
What can I do?
Ask yourself, how many extra-curricular activities do my children have per week? If they are at school, do you allow time for Homework/Home Learning? How much opportunity do they get to ‘play’?
I am an eco-friendly store and stock lots items for kids such as natural play dough, eco crayons, sensory kits, wooden toys and more. They are still ‘stuff’, but minus all the plastic. What can you do with these items?
‘Provocations’ are an Emilio Reggio learning term, where you set up areas around your home to encourage your little ones to ‘play’. It still requires some sort of structure/set up, but they get to explore and play at their own pace. Your job as a mum, is to simply observe.
If they are still little and cannot read a lot of words:(examples)
These are examples of story telling 'provocations'.
If your kids can read, add some inquiry questions to stimulate thinking such as this example.
Provocations doesn’t always need to be inside, you can watch your kids play outside in the playground or around Mother Nature!
Want to know more? Feel free to contact me and ask any questions. How’s your set up? Share some pics and tag us on Instagram and Facebook! Don’t forget to check our sensory items to help you set up your ‘play’ spaces!