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How Play is Important in Early Childhood Education

by Pluto

posted in Reference and Education : Children Education

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According to the Oxford dictionary, play is:  to engage in activities for pleasure or recreation, to amuse oneself by engaging in imaginative pretence, to fulfill, to occupy oneself. 
No matter in what country they live, no matter their environment or circumstances, every child must have play. It is vital that a child exercises play in order to all themselves to express socially emotionally and to perform physically. Play is the start of learning, preparing a child for learning throughout his or her life. It can involve individual creativity or cooperation with others, and can be turned into anything the child wants. One of the most important things about play is that involves having fun. It has so many benefits that head off in every direction developing all the important ingredients for strong head start in a child life.

The adult's job is to provide the environment and ideas that maximize play's potential benefits, allowing children to develop their social skills. One of the ways to do this is to provide and encourage games that are fun, exciting and positive for children. Cooperative games build many social skills. These skills allow the child to form strong friendships and family relationships.

Group activities help children learn about themselves as well as about the needs and wants of other children. They can use these skills for future confrontations and conflicts as they have been exposed and taught the skill of valuing others emotions. 
As well as being socially and emotionally equipped a child need to develop physical strengths. Play has a huge impact in this development for children of varying ages, abilities and interests. Physical play strengthens a child's fine motor skills as well as gross motor skills. Fine motor skills include such things as eye, mouth, wrist, finger and toe movements, whereas motor skills are the exercise of the larger muscle groups like the arms, legs and torso. Play involving movement is critical for strengthening and stimulating the child's muscles, nerves and brain.

Play involves social, emotional, and physical learning. Cognitive development comes hand in hand with all three of these developments and play is an important vehicle of this. Through play, children learn to understand the world, interact socially with others, and express and control their emotions. Play provides an opportunity for children to practice newly acquired skills and attempt or challenge tasks, they start to solve complex problems that they would not or could not otherwise do. All these things are needed for a child to get a healthy start in life. But there is one paragraph missing perhaps the most important, this one is about fun! Play and fun are very close friends in they are in fact family. Fun cannot exist without play, and play cannot exist without fun.

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For more information on <a href="http://www.my-child.co.nz" title="early childhood education" >early childhood education</a> and the effect of good childcare on a child's development check out my section on <a href="http://www.my-child.co.nz" title="kindergarten" >kindergarten</a> and <a href="http://www.my-child.co.nz" title="kindercare" >kindercare</a> at our website.

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