The early years, from birth through six years of age, are often referred to as the most formative years of a child’s life. New skills are introduced and reinforced and with opportunity to practise these new skills, mastery is achieved.
It should also be noted that the early years are the most viable for early intervention. With the appropriate support and resources we are able to maximize the abilities of each child, addressing these specific needs leads to positive learning outcomes, increased confidence and self-esteem.
The early years are a time for play, children not only learn through play, it helps them make sense of the world around them.
But play is often viewed as wasted time, most will tell you they see no value in it, the child is not learning anything….but just for a second let’s take a look at a child who is engaged in pretend play, perhaps they’re acting out a favourite scene from a story just read to them. It is during this time that they are able to develop and practise such skills as comprehension, inferring and retelling, learn new vocabulary and more, all valuable literacy and language skills.
Building with blocks are another great example of learning through play. Whether they’re building a tower large enough for Superman to leap in a single bound or a bridge guarded by friendly trolls, when playing with blocks children are able to practise a range of skills; fine motor, social, cognitive, numeracy and more.
There are many forms of play; solitary, parallel and cooperative to name a few and it is our role is to provide opportunity for children to engage in this play. To create invitations to play, explore, discover, learn and grow. Through the process of play children learn how to work together, problem solve and think creatively, all lifelong skills.
So…never should we underestimate the value of play and for children of all ages, not only is it a great learning tool but therapeutic in nature.