Posted on April 6th, 2017
Play is what children do and their way of life, but it also is the best way for them to learn important life skills. At Flying Start Tuition, we recognise the importance of a playful approach to learning and we are soon launching our brand new Playful Learning sessions aimed at children between the ages of five and eight years old.
What is Playful Learning?
These sessions incorporate an exciting mix of games combined with techniques to help children develop a positive mindset for learning. Suitable for children of all abilities, sessions are ideal for engaging reluctant learners as well as extending high flyers. Designed by experienced, qualified teachers and delivered by our team of fully trained play facilitators, Playful Learning sessions will help each child access the learning that is relevant to them.
Why is playing so important?
"The experience of play changes the connections of the neurons at the front end of your brain," says Sergio Pellis, a researcher at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, quoted in NPR ED. "And without play experience, those neurons aren't changed," he says.
It is those changes in the prefrontal cortex during childhood that help wire up the brain's executive control center, which has a critical role in regulating emotions, making plans and solving problems, Pellis says. So play, he adds, is what prepares a young brain for life, love and even schoolwork.
Which skills are boosted through play?
You only have to observe children playing shop or pretending to be evil monsters to realise how their creativity is boosted, their vocabulary expands and they find innovative solutions to their own problems.
Play is important in the development of language, creative problem-solving and mathematics skills, according to research.
A literature review for Play England entitled A world without Play - listed several academics who linked play to development in children. For example Piaget and Vygotsky, two of the most influential 20th century theorists of cognitive development, both emphasised the essential role of play in children’s development. According to Piaget, play provides children with extensive opportunities to interact with materials in the environment and construct their own knowledge of the world, making play one of the most important elements of cognitive development.
Let them play
In countries such as Finland, where pupils have repeatedly been ranked in Pisa tests as some of the highest scorers in maths, science and reading in Europe, children don’t start formal schooling until seven. Playing is very important to them during the early years. Great care is taken to plan not just what kind of play takes place (there is a mix of “free play” and teacher-directed play) but also to assess how children play. Each child’s development is constantly evaluated.
German psychologists quoted in the Pacific Standard Magazine have done a study to show that free play allows children to develop the flexibility needed to adapt to changing circumstances and environments– an ability that comes in very handy when life becomes unpredictable as an adult.
Structured play, on the other hand, offers other benefits including introducing your child to new ideas and opportunities, enhancing their development and learning abilities, supporting healthy brain development, increasing physical and social skills, providing experience in cooperation, self-discipline and perseverance, developing a positive self-image and building team skills.
How to help your child to play:
Come and play with us!
Update: We're excited to be running a trial Playful Learning Session in our Chesham centre on Tuesday 7th November 2017, from 4pm.
Places are limited, book online now, or contact the team:
t: 01494 772 898