What Parents Need to Know About Learning Through Play

A Leading Daycare in Fremont Explains the Approach of Learning Through Play

March 16, 2020

What Parents Need to Know About Learning Through Play

As parents, we want nothing but the best for our kids. Every decision we make in the lives of our children — from choosing the right daycare in Fremont to sending them off to college — is made after careful contemplation and examination. While some may say that parents should be less hung up on these decisions, we know that you’re only working to ensure the best for your child.

At Bay Area Child Care, a leading daycare in Fremont, we take our responsibility to you and your child seriously. That’s why we’ve chosen a ‘learn through play’ approach to daycare that can help your child thrive from a young age. What exact is learning through play, and is it an effective approach to early childhood education? We’re here to break it down for you.

What is Learning through Play?

Using Playtime for Enrichment at a Daycare in Fremont

Use Playtime for Enrichment

As adults, it’s sometimes difficult to fathom that everything we know — from speech to social norms to daily routines — is something that we at one point had to learn. From childhood to adulthood our brains change drastically, leading many of us to lose the malleable, inquisitive nature of the childhood brain. Most apparent, perhaps, is our loss of playfulness.

At the leading daycare in Fremont, we know that there’s value in the playfulness of a child. Play engaged the entirety of the brain, helping children develop crucial connections for social and mental development.

The theory that children learn through play dates back more than 100 years ago to the late 19th century. Both then and now, researchers understood that playtime is when children are able to test out knowledge and theories about how they interact with the outside world. While these practices seem childish and outside of the realm of traditional classroom learning, the reenactment and experiences involved in play help to solidify understandings beyond what can be simply taught.

For instance, a child playing house with friends must construct reality and cooperate with others when doing so. Not only does this involve creativity and storytelling, but requires children to explore the importance of a daily routine and make connections about why and how a household runs. If the game involves the creation of a physical playhouse, children will often build a structure out of blocks, art supplies, or other materials. Through this process, children learn about problem-solving, improvisation, and cooperation.

Is Learning through Play at a Daycare in Fremont Effective?

The Inherent Nature of Children Calls for Play

Nature Calls for Play

While learning through play sounds effective in theory, many parents are concerned about whether or not the learning through play model of education is truly effective. The leading daycare in Fremont, alongside a number of other leading schools and daycare centers, turns to the inherent nature of children to explain while learning through play is effective.

Much like the way in which adults mature with time, children are naturally playful for a reason. At this stage in development, as opposed to teens and young adults, playtime and imagination are essential for gaining knowledge and skills — which is why children have a naturally playful and inquisitive nature.

Additionally, play is important because of the way the human brain forms and develops over time. Development and play are related in the following ways in these age groups:

  • Ages 0-2 years: Adequate stimulation leads a child’s brain to form more than 1,000 neural connections per second (and some experts claim this number can be as high as 1 million connections per second). These connections are supported by secure environments and attachment in the context of responsive and playful caregiving.
  • Ages 3-5 years: As children develop language, socio-emotional, and cognitive skills, stimulation through play is essential because it helps children explore and make sense of the world around them using imagination and creativity.
  • Ages 6-8 years: Active, play-based learning approaches at this age are still important and strengthen learning motivation and outcomes. However, play-based learning is often neglected in exchange for academic-based education structures.

Why is play not considered productive in an educational setting?

Productive Play

There are a number of reasons why many people don’t think that playtime is an effective use of time in a preschool or primary school classroom. This primarily stems from a lack of education and understanding. 

Many people do not understand that play helps children develop and lay a preliminary foundation for articulate growth. After all, if you don’t understand how time and schedules are important in daily life, you’re likely not going to easily understand how to tell time.

Additionally, the traditional academic education structure is deeply embedded in our minds. Academic structures like rote memorization and test-taking are commonly criticized for focusing on behavior and obedience rather than true knowledge, but are simultaneously seen as the only true way to measure educational performance. This not only stems from the pressure of curriculum and time restraint, but also parents whose ambition for their young children is overzealous and inhibits on intellectual growth and discovery outside of an academic setting.

Moreso, teachers often lack the institutional allowances that pave the way for playtime within the classroom. In addition to being forced to stick to a strict curriculum, teachers often lack the funding and training necessary for creating a classroom centered around learning through play. This can be supported by expanded education opportunities for teachers, smaller class sizes, and higher classroom necessity budgets.

It’s clear that learning through play can help lay the foundation for a bright future for children. However, not every parent and piece of the education system is on board quite yet. If you’re interested in learning more about how play can enrich your child’s early learning, get in touch with the leading daycare in Fremont at Bay Area Child Care today.