Friends Center for Children is an early childhood education center providing year-round, full-time care for children ages 3 months to 5 years. The Friends Center offers a child-centered, hands-on learning experience in a safe and nurturing environment. Read more.
The Blog @ Friends Center for Children
Sam has a wooden apple, three blue pompoms and a piece of orange construction paper in his grocery basket. Ebony identifies them as produce and improvises a plastic hammer to scan them, while Charlotte carefully counts them and places them in a brown lunch bag. At Friends Center for Children, a spontaneous grocery store is not uncommon in the dramatic play area.
Whether role playing, coloring, building blocks or playground time, a child’s instinctive fun is a lot more than meets the eye. Research has proven that the creativity and recreation of playtime has a profound effect on a child’s learning and development, including cognitive benefits, vocabulary building and stress reduction.
During playtime, children practice their verbal and non-verbal communication skills through role-playing activities, increasing their social competence. Play is also vital to the way children understand respect and points of view, by working through conflicts about space, sharing materials, taking turns and following the rules. Emotional intelligence plays a role as well, as children learn to express their feelings and cope with anger, sadness and confusion in situations that they don’t have full control over. Playing “make believe” gives children the opportunity to act out experiences or feelings that they are wrestling with, or are eager to share.
At the Friends Center for Children we strive to help children learn how to play cooperatively, develop a sense of responsibility for self and others, and resolve conflicts peacefully.
Laurel Bongiorno, PhD., director of Champlain College’s graduate program in early childhood education outlined the specific skills that playtime enhances in her article “10 Things Every Parent Should Know About Play”. We identified the most compelling facts in her article, and provided a sample below:
Children learn through their play, developing:
• Cognitive skills (math and problem solving in a pretend grocery store)
• Physical abilities (balancing blocks and running on the playground)
• New vocabulary (words they need to play with toy dinosaurs)
• Social skills (playing together in a pretend car wash)
• Literacy skills (creating a menu for a pretend restaurant)
Play is healthy: Play helps children grow strong and healthy. It also counteracts obesity issues facing many children today.
Play reduces stress: Play helps your children grow emotionally. It is joyful and provides an outlet for anxiety and stress.
Play and learning go hand-in-hand: They are not separate activities. They are intertwined. Think about them as a science lecture with a lab. Play is the child’s lab.
And there is so much more to learn about play. To read more about the latest research on playtime and why it is an important part of a child’s learning and development, visit the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) website.