Play is a natural state that is within us all. Play is an instinct. We do not learn to play we play to learn. Research shows that children who have time to play perform better in the classroom.
DID YOU KNOW? The importance of play is fundamental and as such is recognised within the United Nations Convention on the right of the Child (1989). Within this every right is equal which emphasises the value of play for every child, so for example the right to play is as important as the right to an education.
Brain development is impacted by cognitive play. Only 25 percent of the brain is formed in the womb. By engaging in play from birth, the brain is stimulated into making connections between nerve cells, thus aiding the development of fine and gross motor skills. These connections continue to develop through play into teen years and adult life and enable us to plan and decision make. Play contributes to the development of skills required for day to day life such as vocabulary, understanding, problem solving and motivation. It boosts self-confidence, self-awareness and an understanding of the world around us.
By providing children with the time and space to play, they are able to develop concentration skills which research shows that children who have had ample play opportunities have higher IQ levels.
Family– Play is not only beneficial to the child but also to the carer, the parent, the teacher, the family. By engaging in play with you child you are able to foster and develop community relationships not only for yourself but for your child also. Spontaneous play develops relationships and encourages communication and laughter. This triggers the release of chemicals and hormones that boost immune responses and the release of endorphins- positively impacting on attachment and bonding.
Theories and Research.
The value of play has been long researched and documented. Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky are two influential theorists that emphasis the indispensable role that play has in children’s development. Providing children with ample play opportunities allows them to take risks, make decisions and build cognitive development, thus preparing them and provides them with essential life skills.
Play has also been linked with a child’s ability to overcome fears, rationalise and discover own preferences and interests. This is often clear to see within Sensory Time classes and is evidenced with this quote from one of our parents.