Play – The Moving Force of Development

I am so excited to share Claire’s post with you today. Claire Adams is a professional development expert and believer in the power of a positive attitude. She is also quite sweet and patient. As many of you have noticed and kindly inquired, The Engaged Home has been quiet lately. As with our daughter, we’ve found the 4-8 month stage one of the most difficult for us as parents. So many major transitions seem to happen. Only now we have two babies and a two-year-old. Between teething, colds, and a severe lack of sleep, we bunkered down as a family for awhile. I had to set many things aside and just focus on putting one foot in front of the other.

Slowly, slowly we are emerging and picking back up with renewed passion. When hard seasons hit, my family becomes my top priority. And for Mitch and I to stay healthy and engaged at home, we needed to temporarily scale back. Thank you so much for your love and understanding. That being said, I am excited to be back writing and sharing guest posts.

Writing inspires me. Crafting a good poem or blog post feels like play to met. And today Claire is sharing about the inspiration and importance of play in the lives of children. I am so excited to share what she has to say on this topic because it is one I witness the power of on a daily basis with our three kids. 🙂

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Child’s play is more than just a way to keep children engaged. It’s actually one of their basic rights and one of the most effective mediums of their overall development and learning. Not only do children develop their imagination through play, but they also develop their cognitive, social and emotional skills. In addition, learning through play has proven to be highly effective, engaging, and fun, which is why it’s important that teachers reorient their classrooms from skill-centered to child-centered. Only then will children be able to reap all the benefits of play and realize their full potential.

Cognitive Development

Jean Piaget was a psychologist who created a developmental stage theory where and he argues that a child’s cognitive development and the acquisition of language requires appropriate stimuli from the environment. According to his theory, play is fundamental to a child’s cognitive development because it provides them with plenty of real-life experiences and relevant stimuli.

You’ve probably noticed how children often talk to themselves while playing. This is actually their way of expressing their thoughts that slowly become internal as a child develops. Thinking, talking, reasoning, problem solving, and other cognitive aspects are all developed through play.

Educational Value

Modern curricula predominantly center on isolated skills, which has moved the focus away from children. Children now acquire a variety of separated skills without any insight into their real-life application. Although the importance of play has been discussed for decades, it’s not always easy to meet the demands brought by new educational trends because of social and financial circumstances. However, the truth is that children are active beings and need to explore the world around them rather than just listening about it. By being active through play in their learning, children acquire knowledge and skills in a meaningful context.

With that in mind, it’s of the utmost importance that everyone focuses on children and the importance of play for the learning process. An excellent example of this practice can be seen in the great learning activities in the Lane Cove child care centre, where each child and their individuality are nurtured and developed in a relaxed atmosphere. Here, a child’s needs are accommodated through an individualized and child-oriented approach, as well as appropriate learning styles.
It’s essential that such an engaging and individualized educational practice be implemented in schools around the world, so that children can learn about their environment and acquire appropriate skills in a fun yet educational way.

Development of Social Skills

At first, children play on their own, talking to themselves and focusing on their own little world. As they grow and become more aware of their environment, they start engaging with other children through play. However, play is here more than just an opportunity for children to communicate with their peers. Through play, they acquire appropriate social skills and learn how to express their feelings to others and understand the feelings of other children. In addition, play is a great opportunity for children to acquire pro-social skills and learn how to solve their conflicts with other children in a constructive way. Finally, play that involves role-playing helps children put themselves in other children’s shoes, which teaches them empathy.

Play as Therapy

Since play helps children’s emotional development by providing them with a way to express their feelings, it actually has found a wide application in children’s therapy. Professionals use play therapy to help children cope with their feelings and troubles by encouraging them to express them through play and fantasy. While playing, children can think out loud, play out their feelings, repeat unpleasant events and eventually understand and come to terms with their emotions. This way, children learn more about themselves, different emotions, and the world in general, which helps them become more self-aware.

Parents and teachers around the world are trying to provide their children and students with the best possible conditions for their overall development. The importance of play for children’s development is one of the universal truths that all the people involved in children’s upbringing and education can use as a great benchmark.

Claire Adams is a personal and professional development expert who believes that a positive attitude is one of the keys to success. You can find her online writing and giving tips about lifestyle and development as a regular contributor at highstylife.com.

Claire’s social media accounts:

facebook.com/clairenadams

twitter.com/adamsnclaire

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