5 Benefits of Play-Based Learning
Play-based learning is an educational strategy that utilizes games and playful activities as tools to promote learning. Children are naturally motivated to play. A play-based program builds upon this motivation, using play as a context for learning. In this context, children can explore, experiment, discover, and solve problems in imaginative and playful ways. Research shows that play-based learning enhances academic and developmental outcomes for children. It also prepares your child for success in the 21st century by teaching them relevant skills.
Here are some of the benefits of this strategy, as extracted from Robertson, Morrissey, and Rouse (2018):
A play-based approach involves both child-initiated learning and teacher support. The teacher encourages children’s learning and exploration through interactions aimed at expanding their thinking to higher levels. For example, while children play with blocks, a teacher can pose questions that promote problem-solving, prediction, and hypothesis formulation. The teacher can also direct the child’s attention to math, science, and literacy concepts, allowing them to engage with such concepts through hands-on learning.
Engagement in play stimulates the child’s motivation to explore and discover, motivating the child to master their environment, and fostering focus and concentration.
It also allows the child to engage in flexible, higher-level thinking processes essential for 21st-century learning, including inquiry, problem-solving, analysis, evaluation, knowledge application, and creativity.
Play also encourages positive attitudes towards learning, such as imagination, curiosity, enthusiasm, and persistence. The learning processes and skills fostered through play cannot be replicated through rote memorization, which emphasizes memorising facts.
Research indicates that the increased language complexity and learning processes used by children in play-based programs are related to important literacy skills. These skills include an understanding of word structure and word meanings. Further studies have found that children’s vocabulary and storytelling abilities were higher in a play-based classroom compared to a traditional classroom.
In summary, play-based learning offers an effective and engaging way to promote learning while developing a wide range of cognitive and socioemotional skills and benefits in children.
Source: Robertson, N., Morrissey, A.-M., & Rouse, E. (2018). Play-based learning can set your child up for success at school and beyond. Science Education News, 67(1), 50–51. https://doi.org/10.3316/informit.499375020726481
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