Play 101 is what I consider happens during in the early childhood years. The early childhood years are special – if not magical years. I count myself very blessed to have shared those years with many families’ as co-founder and teacher of Red Gate Preschool.
At the time, Red Gate Preschool was unique; it focused on experiential learning with considerable time spent outdoors. Our children had lots of learning opportunities supplied organically just from the fact the preschool was located on a farm!
One of my core, teaching beliefs is PLAY is essential to early learning. In fact, I believe children need PLAY to THRIVE! The Greek philosopher Plato said,
——————-“Life must be lived as play“
and Albert Einstein said
————-“Play is the highest form of research.”
Clearly there’s a lot more to PLAY than ‘just’ fun! But the fun aspect shouldn’t be minimized either!
The early childhood years are a time of rapid growth and development; children interacting with each other and their environment to understand the world around them. Each age and developmental stage is important, with critical milestones to be reached. Unfortunately, the important work of these early childhood years is often overlooked. I’ve seen the tendency to ‘push-down’ academics and, sadly, it’s reaching all the way down to the preschool set.
IT STARTS AT HOME
An additional belief: A child’s home is where their education really begins. Parents’ are their children’s first and most teachers! Historically, that job has fallen to mothers. The good news is more fathers are wanting to be a significant part of their children’s lives! And this really IS good news because study after study confirms the positive effect fathers have on their children’s lives. I’m talking about their overall health and development now and later; when they’re teens and adults.
PLAY IS THE WAY
Another fact, backed up by science, is PLAY is the way young children learn best. In fact, PLAY is how their brains like to learn! You can find more posts in TeacherKarensThoughts on the importance of PLAY and PLAY-based, learning activities. The National Institute for Play also has information on the importance of play and its many benefits.
IT TAKES A VILLAGE
Most families have both parents working outside the home. Child care is a big issue. Time management, with different schedules, different activities, makes it impossible for one person to do everything alone. Dads need to be involved. I believe they always wanted to, but for a variety of reasons, were kept at arm’s length. Play & Grow™ is here to help parents, but especially Dads, connect with their children through PLAY.
Fred Rogers, of the long-running PBS children’s show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and proponent of early learning, said: “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play IS serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” Play & Grow™ provides you with the resources and products you need to create hands-on activities for enriched, PLAY-based, learning activities for your children.
Remember the early childhood years are special years–if not magical years–use these activities to create memories that’ll stand the test of time!
While Play & Grow™ is geared towards PLAY, learning activities and the young, did you know play is also important for adults? It’s true! Read about The Benefits of Play for Adults and how play can improve your health, work and family relationships.