Play-based learning is defined as a way children can learn by arranging and endeavour to make sense of their social worlds by actively engaging with people, objects, and symbolism through play. Children may play and explore on their own. But they may also play with others and use materials to represent other objects. This is known as symbolic play, which plays a vital role in developing their cognitive skills, harnessing their imagination, and sharpening their social competence. Play-based learning offers key benefits to preschoolers’ development.
Play Supports Pre-literacy Skills
When play involves music and rhyme, this can greatly support the development of pre-literacy skills such as the ability to listen and recognise different sounds. Activities that engage and encourage the preschooler to sing and recite rhymes can play a significant role in giving them the foundations for basic literacy and reading skills. Through rhythm, rhyme, and repetition, preschoolers can develop their skill in memorising and hone their ability to tell the difference between sounds.
Play Helps Develop Language Skills
In their preschool years, children develop their vocabulary as they play with their peers and interact with adults. Teachers in an excellent preschool in Singapore, for instance, can support language development with play. They can ask the children questions, engage them in conversation, and introduce new and unfamiliar words. By encouraging them to converse in a play activity, language learning happens naturally as it is made enjoyable and relevant to their interests.
Play Nurtures Creativity and Imagination
Studies have linked play to developing children’s creativity and imagination, traits that can become very valuable in the modern world. Through their imagination, they can find solutions to many kinds of problems that they may encounter. Encouraging the use of their imagination in the “natural element” of play at a young age is key to developing their curiosity and fostering a generation of confident and creative problem-solvers.
Play Helps Develop Emotional and Social Skills
Interacting with others through play is strongly tied to developing emotional and social skills. By playing games that require cooperation in a group, children develop a sense of belonging. They need a feeling of connectedness to become and remain motivated to learn. The skill of developing positive relationships also has strong links to play-based learning.
As children play and interact with each other, they learn to get along, use words to express their needs, resolve conflicts, and cooperate. Play is essential in the development of empathy and emotional competence in children. It allows them to learn about the feelings and motivations of others and how their actions can affect them.
Play is also a known stress-reliever for children; they retreat to calmer forms of play when the day becomes overwhelming for them. Calm play is essential and therapeutic, as it gives time for their brain to process information and recharge.
For play-based learning to be effective, preschoolers should freely choose the activities to do. Learning through play can make their brains more receptive to new information that they must absorb later in life.