Play Is Important for Child Development and Learning

We are living in a highly pressurised and competitive magento development companies 2022. There are more people chasing fewer jobs and in order to compete and survive in this world our children need to be as highly educated as possible. This has led parents to pressurise play-schools and nursery schools to begin teaching children reading, writing and arithmetic in the hope that they will be better prepared for formal schooling when they enter grade 1.

Cutting play time to spend more time and effort on formal learning is like saying to your builder that you want him to forgo the foundations but spend more time, money and effort in creating a beautiful, tall, sleek building. The first high winds or earth tremor will shake the building to the ground. Play is a child’s learning foundation. Play is not simply a way of spending time, nor is it even just a way of expending excess energy so that the child can sit still and listen in class.

Lev Vygotsky was very well known and esteemed for his work in researching how children learn and the best methods to ensure that real learning actually happens. He said that “in play it is as though he [the child] were a head taller than himself. As in the focus of a magnifying glass, play contains all developmental tendencies in a condensed form; in play it is as though the child were trying to jump above the level of his normal behaviour.” What he is saying here is that in play, a child uses and practices his skills, stretching himself into the next developmental stage.

Which skills does play develop?

Gross motor: This is the obvious area. People see children running and climbing and can clearly see that they are developing their muscle strength, coordination and balance. Parents want their children to quickly move from doing this in free play to participating in organised sports. While organised sport is good for children, if the child’s gross motor activity becomes too regulated too soon, he is going to specialise in some movements (those specific to his sports) and miss out on the development of others (such as climbing trees). The more diverse a child’s physical play can be, the more chance he has of developing his muscles and overall coordination in a balanced way. He is less likely to develop early tight tendons ( I see many children with tight tendons at the back of the knees) and less likely to develop weak core muscles (we are seeing more and more young children walking around with poor posture due to weak core muscles).

Fine motor: Beginning to learn to use a pencil before you have developed finger and thumb strength and stability results in a child developing an inefficient pencil grip. When a child has weak thumb stabilisers, he is likely to wrap his thumb around his index finger to try to create greater stability. This makes it very difficult for him to then develop the necessary finger isolation (separate movement of the fingers to give easy, dextrous pencil control). Children who have not yet developed their wrist stability will try to use whole-arm movements to do their drawings and writing and will press very hard. If a child has not developed the bilateral integration (this happens in the brain and is the smooth, efficient communication of the right side of the brain with the left) cutting will be difficult and he will have difficulty writing across his page and reading across a page or school board. Beginning to use a pencil too soon therefore inhibits learning in a formal class setting, rather than helping it.

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