I believe that learning through play in Early Childhood Education is extremely important and very beneficial to children’s learning. Play is a key learning tool for children, it is how they are able to explore the classroom they are in and all of the materials that are in it that they can use, and the outdoor play materials such as toy trucks, the playground, etc. Play is also an important learning tool because it allows children to be creative while developing their development skills such as their: imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. It helps them learn skills that help them engage with the world around them and play is very beneficial to kid’s healthy brain development too. Play is a motivation tool that makes children interested in and excited to learn. It helps boost children’s confidence in both their interactions with others, but also boost their confidence in their imagination and how they can make the play scenario they’re doing even more fun and exciting for everyone involved. Play also helps children develop skills that they will use as adults, such as using social skills, discovery, etc.
Throughout my two past field experiences and my current field experience, I have observed children playing and how they learn through play. Play isn’t just about messing around; it’s about learning through exploring your surroundings and the materials within that surroundings and this is what I have seen every time I have gone through my field experiences. An example of witnessing children learn through play would be an example from my current field experience, “03/14/23- During free choice time, Taiah used both of her hands to hold a toy baby bottle and “feed” a baby doll. Then she used her left hand to hold the back of the baby’s head & used her right hand to hold the bottle.” This is from one of my anecdotal notes that I have taken during one of my days at my field experience last month. My focus child was pretending to be a mother who is feeding their baby a bottle, just like parents in real life do. Pretend play is beneficial because not only does it benefit their social skills, it also helps with their emotional development, kids learn how to do things such as: taking turns, sharing responsibility with other children and problem-solve in creative/different ways.
Learning through play relates to my growth as a professional because throughout the field experiences that I have done, I have seen the benefits of play that I have mentioned. I have seen the benefits of play that I have mentioned earlier, both through observing children in play, but also by me being involved in the children’s play/interacting with the children in play. By witnessing and being involved in children’s play, it has helped me in my interactions with children during play and how I can expand their developmental skills during that time, as well it helping me plan experiences with children that involve play that benefit their learning and development.