Importance of ” Play” at Early Childhood Care and Education-Foundational Stage
Play is a child’s work. Play by its very nature is something young children like to do and actively engage in. We can say that play and learning are a two-way reciprocal process. Play enablesNational Curriculum Framework for Foundational Stage-2022
learning by allowing children to remain active, engaged, and involved in social interaction with other adults and children, thus meeting all necessary conditions for learning to occur.
National Curriculum Framework for Foundational Stage-2022 states:
When we observe children engaged in play, we notice the following:
a. There is choice: Children choose and decide their goals when they play (e.g., I would like to complete the puzzle, build the block tower, or make tea in the dollhouse). This choice enables them to be active and engaged.
b. There is wonder: This enables them to think and focus (e.g., the balloon is
getting so big, how far into the sky the kite has gone, where did the handkerchief disappear – is that magic?).
c. There is joy: Children are enjoying themselves, are excited about playing,
and are loving what they are doing. This enables meaningful social interaction and increases the desire to continue learning.
In this active playing process, children are learning - learning to make sense of the world, learning to solve problems, learning about themselves, learning about others, learning language and mathematics.
Play is thus central to children’s learning and development. Learning through play in the classroom provides several opportunities for children, actively catering to all domains of development, all Curricular Goals. Choice, wonder, and joy are key aspects of children’s play, and our classrooms would do well to be organized around these three aspects.National Curriculum Framework for Foundational Stage-2022
While playing, children are active: they organize, plan, imagine, manipulate, negotiate, explore, investigate, and create while making sense of the world. For example, when playing, children:
• Make a plan and follow through: I want to draw my home and family; what will it look like, and who all should I include in the picture?
• Learn from trial and error, using imagination and problem-solving skills: My tower keeps falling; maybe I need to put more blocks at the base?
• Apply concepts of quantity, science, and movement to real life: I want to dig a tunnel in the sandpit; maybe I need to wet the sand?
• Reason in a logical, analytical manner: While solving picture puzzles, it may be good to start with the pieces on the border first.
• Communicate with friends, interact with them, and negotiate differences in point of view: This time I want to play the doctor; maybe next time you could play this role?
• Derive satisfaction from work or accomplishment: I completed this sandcastle together with my friend.
• Be creative: When I mix red and blue paint, it becomes purple; what will happen when I mix green and blue paint?
Resources:- National Curriculum Framework for Foundational Stage-2022