Playing to Learn: The role of play in the early years

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Importance of Play

In a study in Jamaica , poor toddlers with stunted growth were visited once a week for an hour by trained health workers, who engaged in learning through play and worked with their mothers to support and encourage this play. Twenty years later, the programme is shown to have benefitted the participants and reduced inequality in later life.

How children learn through play - Family Lives

They did better in school, had better social skills and were less likely to commit crimes. Support for play must be built into early childhood development programmes. For example, health workers can be trained to engage with a child while giving a vaccine or checkup and offer parents information about the benefits of play.


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Support is critical to help parents and carers understand how important play is for young children and to give them ideas about how to work with what they have. For example, simple household items such as cups and spoons can serve as toys. View all explainers This page is about learning through play and why it is important in preparing a child for education and in health brain development - and how, without it, negative effects can stretch into adulthood.


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What can we do? Act Tweet Share Email. How children, families and countries can play their way to happiness and success. Book Spotlight on Young Children: Exploring Play Members Only.

How children learn through play

To Share with Families. As infant and toddler teachers know well, play is a profoundly important medium for learning and development for very young children. Directors can support teachers by ensuring sufficient resources to provide playful learning environments. Make sure your child has time to play to promote cognitive, language and literacy, physical, social, and emotional development.

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Authored by Authored by: This is the second article in a TYC series about asking children questions and inviting conversations. This installment focuses on different ways to play with chalk. The sand table and the water table can be two of the most popular areas of the classroom for young children, but it is important to remember that these areas are essential to the classroom for higher-level learning. Thanks to a nationwide parent education initiative called Every Child Ready to Read ECRR , an increasing number of librarians are focusing on helping parents interact with their young children in meaningful ways to increase vocabulary development.

Learning through play (early childhood development)

They are great for fostering creativity and hands-on learning. NAEYC asked two researchers about what their work tells us about toys, children, and play. After forming a close bond with a student in his classroom, this preschool teacher shares his testimony on the power of play—and how it helped him through grief and retrospection after the passing of a loved one.

How we can help you

Increasing core strength and hand—eye coordination can help preschoolers improve their gross motor abilities. Consider these activities for bringing active play inside!