Sunday, June 27, 2010

Play 2 Grow; The Introduction

This is my first post on the new blog, Play 2 Grow. It took me a while to come up with a name that would not only be catchy, but would describe some of my philosophy of early childhood education. I started out with Learn Through Play, but that was taken. Then I tried Play 2 Learn which was a great suggestion! Unfortunately, that was taken as well. Finally, I chose Play 2 Grow which is similar to Play 2 Learn, but you learn as you grow so it fits!

I believe that hands on learning is the best way for children to learn anything. How will they understand a concept if they don’t experience it? How will they learn to count if they don’t have the opportunity to count using physical objects to correspond to the numbers? How will they learn about science concepts such as weather or how plants grow without experiencing it first hand? Children learn about their world by testing things in their environment. Even very young babies learn that they can make things happen in their own world and that they can affect people around them. How is this learning done? It’s done through play and interaction between children and their parents, caregivers and other people they come into contact with.

Play is a huge part of a young child’s education which is why it’s apart of the title of my blog. In a lot of early childhood settings, the amount of play is decreasing and it is being replaced with academic activities that young children simply aren’t ready for. I will discuss that further in later posts, but it’s important to be a voice for these children to keep plenty of play in the classrooms where it happens already and bring play back to the classrooms where it has disappeared. Play is how children begin to learn academic skills such as math and science concepts along with reading and using everyday language. They learn social skills by interacting with one another in dramatic play or by learning to take turns and share toys. They use play to discover and share feelings and emotions that they don’t yet understand. They use play to get exercise by running, dancing, catching a ball, jumping, climbing, riding bikes etc. They use play to expand their imaginations by dressing up and taking on roles of family members or people in the community. Arts and crafts can even be considered play which children enjoy while being creative.

We all need our basic needs met, exercise, social skills, academic skills, imagination, creativity and a sense of belonging to grow physically and emotionally. These things are especially important for children. Play is the building block of any early childhood education and the main theme for my blog. I will include my thoughts on topics relating to early childhood education, activities that have worked well or not and I’m open to suggestions. I’m hoping my blog will be either helpful, interesting, or maybe it’ll just make you think.

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