Integrating Learning & Play
By Emily Habelrih
I have once again had the privilege of writing an article for Safari. This article is all about integrating learning and play.
While incorporating play into the daily curriculum of toddlers and younger children is typically a priority, when children reach school age, play often comes second to more academic styles of learning. Interestingly, however, children of all ages develop cognitive, social, emotional and motor skills through the use of play. In fact, play enriches critical thinking and provides them with so many opportunities to explore, create and problem solve. In addition, when children begin to play with their peers, they are given the opportunity to practice their social skills, which are consequently developed through real-life situations.
Within the education system, there are so many ‘boxes’ teachers and parents need to tick to ensure they are meeting all the requirements of the curriculum. Unfortunately, this means that play is often left out of day-to-day learning. However, when play is integrated into learning, children begin to develop abstract thinking, verbal reasoning skills, social skills and emotional regulation skills. All of these skills are imperative to cognition and overall well-being.
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