Learn Through Play at Preschool in Dural

One of the most common questions we are asked during centre tours or when children transition into our preschool aged room is “How are children being prepared for school?” Our short answer is “By allowing children the time and space to play.”

The UN Convention of the Rights of the Child as identified under Article 31 recognises the children’s rights to rest, leisure, recreation and play appropriate to their age. The article provides education and care settings the foundation to use play-based approaches to learning in our environments. This is further supported by the Early Childhood Code of Ethics which states In relation to children, I will: understand and be able to explain to others how play and leisure enhance children’s learning, development and wellbeing.

When children are given the time and space to play, they have the freedom to be inquisitive and explore and research. A younger child may stack blocks and when they come crashing down, they may wonder why they fell or if they can make them fall again. Older children playing in the sandpit may be trying to dig tunnels and wonder why it keeps collapsing. They try again, using trial and error to achieve their desired outcome. Play allows children the opportunity to engage in repetition and cement their learning so they can make sure every time they do something it will respond in the same way.

Play offers children time to develop relationships between their peers and educators. It is during these interactions educators discover a child’s interests and gain information about their development. By engaging with children in play they acquire the knowledge required to scaffold future learning. Children are much more likely to engage in an experience which is self-selected and is of meaning to them.

Children should be provided with opportunities to discover, explore, create, experiment and problem solve. By viewing children as competent and unique individuals who have a right to learn through their play, indoor and outdoor environments should be set up in ways to reflect and encourage these beliefs. By ensuring play opportunities are exciting and challenging and support children to reach their full potential we can encourage a love of life long learning.