If you go into a preschool and you don’t see any block play, art activities or any games being played at all, you need to seriously question whether it is the right preschool for your child. This is due to a theory and what parents often hear of the importance of play among children as they are learning – playing with blocks or interactive games are suitable to be collaborated with the academic transmission between the teacher and child, and also among other children at school. Let’s see how play can be very significant to learning.
A preschool program that acknowledges the importance of play is going to be able to offer your child the best opportunities to learn. Although it might seem as a tiny element in a child’s whole academic progress it may also be a basic foundation towards an excellent success.
There are many benefits of games and play to a children development such as vocabulary expansion. For example, when playing with other children or adults, vocabulary and language skills are nurtured. Your child will listen and learn the language he or she hears without even realizing. A simple activity like playing with cars, trucks and trains as well as animals increases new vocabulary as children learn the names of each, what they do, what they eat or where you can find them.
In addition, blocks are helpful play tools in Mathematics and problem solving activities. I have been observing my students playing blocks for months and surprisingly, they are able to imagine and create different things with the same blocks each day. Either it’s a tower, camera or even an imaginative cheese cake; it shows that their creativity is expanding day by day. The creativity that they develop eventually leads to greater success in learning – it goes back to tackling the basic concepts in mathematics that could be related to the exposure of various shapes and sizes observed, as well as skills in problem solving.
Adding more to the pros, play also helps in gross and fine motor skills developments. In an article, Play in Preschool: Why it Matters by Geiser, she explained that the process of motor skills developments involve the large muscles of the legs and arms while fine motor development is building the muscles of the hands that will be used for writing (2013). Play can provide many opportunities to work on strengthening these muscles without your child even being aware of it! Based on my own experience handling younger kids at Letzhop, I believe play can cure problems like disabilities in writing neatly or even holding a pencil properly.
Besides that, at Letzhop we use interactive games as one of the play activities that can help to enhance students learning. Based on the previous article by Teacher Adeb, we were clearly informed that the content and games in the Sesame Street English lessons were specifically designed for preschoolers’ and are marketed as educational materials to optimize a child’s development. Therefore, the games in every lesson vary from puzzle, mix and match, to songs and many more.
In a nutshell, an effective academic program or learning centre should cultivate the elements of play and games to ensure that the students get a fun opportunity to learn and at the same time expand their imagination that helps to a brighter academic development. As a teacher at Letzhop, I am proud to be a part of a learning centre that provides play activities every single day with our beloved students. Last but not least, play and games are not useless activities that waste time, but it is the basic foundation to produce a champion!
LETZHOP Bukit Jalil
- Geiser, T. (2013). Play in School: Why it Matters. Retrieved September 10, 2014, from http://www.education.com/magazine/article/play-preschool-matters/
- Mutalib, A. (2014). TV: Bad or Good for Kids? Retrieved September 10, 2014, from Letzhop Blogspot: http://www.letzhop.blogspot.com/2014/08/tv-good-or-bad-for-kids.html