What does Play-based Learning Look Like?

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GroupTimeAA play-based learning environment is generally set up into sections.

Understanding how play supports learning means understanding how children learn.
Once our students experienced play-based learning, they were more focused, motivated, and purposeful. Most important, they were happier. Bringing play-based learning to our classrooms created balance, deepened our learning, and defined our classroom community as a place where we could learn and grow together.

There are typically sections for science, literacy, writing, reading, dramatic play, blocks and building, and social studies.

These areas of learning will then incorporate play-based materials and activities that the children will find engaging and fun. The learning environment will be inspiring, stimulating, and nurturing, and it will welcome all children of cultural, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds.

The classroom will be a place that children can feel safe to learn, play and expore. It will be organized in a way that supports the child’s social and emotional development as well as cognitive learning.

Play-based Preschool Curriculum
In a play-based or child-centered preschool program, children are able to choose activities based on the current interests. Learning activities such as creative arts, literacy, numeracy, social studies, science, etc. are presented to children through play. Educators encourage children to play, facilitating both social and emotional skills along the way. It often looks like children are “just playing”, but in fact, they are learning important educational, social, emotional, and life skills through the process of play.

Play enhances children’s physical, social/emotional, and creative growth and development. It is the primary means by which children explore their world and begin to make sense of the world around them. Without play, it is difficulty for a child to understand how the world functions and how they can function in it.

It is evident that play has a major role in the cognitive development of the child, but what about meeting those important learning objectives and goals? Through play, children actively post problems, explore solutions, and begin to develop a real understanding of how things function in the world around them. Educators can support this play-based philosophy by offering and encouraging the engagement in play-based activities centered around academic areas that will allow for cognitive development as well as activities that will promote social and emotional learning.

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