I have always known that I wanted to be a teacher ever since I was little. I thought that babies were the cutest things, even as a kid. When I got my first Bitty Baby, she went with me everywhere. I loved all my Bitty Babies and all of the accessories that I had for them. I always wanted to make sure they were in the right outfit for whatever activity we were doing. Fast forward to when I got my first job in a daycare, and I was watching the kids play and slowly started seeing that their play was changing, and they were doing different skills. Before I started going to school for Early Childhood development, I did not know that kids learned so much just through play. I have learned that children can learn through play and now I believe that children learn many important tasks and milestones through play.
My thinking has changed a lot over time as I have furthered my education in child development, and I have learned many important skills that I use all the time in the field. I also learned that there are a few things that teachers can do to help the children learn more through their play. As time goes on and a teacher and child are able to build a connection with one another the teacher is able to learn about the child’s interests. Once a teacher has learned about a child’s interest, they are able to provide a wide variety of compelling materials that will be able to help the child to continue to grow. When children are given choices, they are more likely to be engaged for longer periods of time. I have observed the kids play for longer periods of time because they were given a choice on what they got to do.
My most favorite thing as a teacher is watching the children grow and learn new skills. I love watching their faces light up when they have figured out a skill that they were working on. One of my favorite memories is when an 18-month-old that I nannied figured out how to turn off a keyboard piano. We were sitting on the floor, and she kept on trying to turn the piano on. I asked her if she would like some help and she said, “uh hu.” So, I slowly pushed on the button with my finger to demonstrate how to do it. She took her finger and pushed the button the other way. I said, “You turned it off.” She looked up at me and had a big smile on her face. We did that back and forth for a few minutes. It’s the smallest thing that can make the biggest difference in learning. As we were there talking and playing, she was working on her fine motor skills and building up the muscles in her hand just by pushing the button. Play can take place in any setting and there are so many opportunities for it to take place throughout the day. This is why I believe that children learn so many skills just through play.