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Play-Based Learning: Benefits and How It Works


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Sponsored by Yew Chung International School of Beijing:

Learning through play - how does it really work? Specific areas of a child's skills, knowledge and life that are improved by play-based learning programmes taught in school.

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Play-Based Learning: Benefits and How It Works

  2. 2. Play-based learning provides ‘a context for learning through which children organise and make sense of their social worlds, as they engage actively with people, objects and representations’ -Australia’s Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
  3. 3. Learning Through Play What areas of learning does play improve? Cognitive and creativity Social Well-being Physical coordination What types of play help improve these areas of learning? Music and Dance Arts and Crafts Dramatic Play Outdoor Play Constructive Play “Play opens the windows of learning in a child’s life and acquaints him or her with movement, observation, relationships, emotions and much more.”* Essentially this means that when a child is playing, with either parents, friends or toys, they are engaging in learning about themselves, those around them, and their environment. To understand, let’s look at: *Sean Brotherson
  4. 4. Improves: Cognitive and Creativity Basic mathematical, scientific and thinking skills are learned by experimenting with people and objects around children. For example: Building a block tower can help children recognise problems and think about how to solve them properly Floating (and sinking) toys in water helps children understand buoyancy Determining how to share toys evenly between a group helps children learn basic mathematics The development of cognitive skills, including dispositions for learning (such as curiosity and persistence), memory and thinking skills, and language and literacy skills, have strong links to play.* Additionally, play nurtures creativity, imagination, strategies for problem solving and the expansion of a child’s critical divergent thought process. *Bodrova & Leong
  5. 5. Improves: Social Skills Research shows that playing with others assists children in building positive relationships through understanding proper social skills. Children build empathy as they become more aware of their own and others’ emotions, motivations and desires. As children get better at communicating and negotiating, it’s easier for them to bond with others because they create understanding and trust. Communication skills are improved, as children can use new words to tell stories and voice their opinions. Negotiation and problem solving are learned through improved empathy.
  6. 6. Improves: Well-being Well-being has to do with the mental state of your child, which is essential as a child looks to become more independent and happier • Play helps children to express and work through emotions and experiences • By playing and making mistakes, children learn how to have a good sense of humour • By engaging in solo-play, children learn that individual happiness can be created • Play causes a mix of endorphins that lifts spirits and distracts children from pain, fear, and other burdens
  7. 7. Improves: Physical Coordination Playing Means Children Are: •  Running •  Jumping •  Climbing •  Picking up/carrying objects •  Swimming •  Kicking and throwing Health Benefits •  Improved metabolism •  Increased energy expenditures Learned Skills •  Eye-hand coordination •  Large muscular skills (running, etc.) •  Small muscular skills (picking up a ball, etc.)
  8. 8. Types: Music and Dance Tapping rhythms and other nursery rhymes helps develop rhythm, language understanding, and tones. Partner dancing helps children learn about matching movements to music and coordinating with another person. Dancing spontaneously helps children increase their imagination, express their emotions, and explore space in 3 dimensions. Playing a musical instrument helps children to use their senses to understand an object, by responding to what they hear and see.
  9. 9. Types: Arts and Crafts Creating pictures and sculptures helps children to learn about space, shapes, area and symmetry through creative and critical thinking Painting allows children to use a new artistic medium, which helps them to explore their imagination and intuition with new materials. Making crafts teaches children aspects of connecting parts together and getting the right information from the instructor or instructions.
  10. 10. Types: Dramatic Play Giving a child a specific role to perform will encourage recalling and applying his or her own experiences to that given point in time. By creating a fake persona that the child must play, you are allowing him or her to use literary and communicative skills that he or she might not usually use in everyday life. Using props while engaging in dramatic play allows children to further identify with their assigned role, as well as learn about interacting with other characters and objects with that role.
  11. 11. Types: Outdoor Play Sand Play • Giving children free- range in a sandbox will allow them to learn the concept of area, as well as how they personally can affect that area • When building sand castles, the social aspects of sharing and cooperation are incorporated Water Play • Builds concentration as children look to pour water from container to container • Permits children to learn for themselves the therapeutic properties that water has Air Play • Flying a kite or holding a hand-held windmill can show children the effect that wind has on objects, and how the strength of the wind effects them • By trying to run or jump on a windy day, children can learn about the power of air and how it creates resistance Photo:"HappyHolidayOnTheBeach"by supakitmod Photo:"ChildrenToys"byartur84
  12. 12. Type: Construction Play Independent Collaboration Develops fine motor skills as children pass to others, while also pushing, pulling, holding, connecting and placing objects where they are needed Forces children to learn to take turns and share equipment when building up collaborative projects Creates confidence in children when they are able to make their own structures. Builds concentration as children focus on what part of a structure needs to be changed and rebuilt.
  13. 13. Making Time for Play Scheduling Play Time! Playing is one of the best (and most fun) ways for children to learn, so parents should include it in their child’s schedule Play helps learning at any age, which means playing with your child can actually help you learn new concepts and lessons Schools also need to develop an environment in which children can positively learn through play At Yew Chung International School, children are encouraged to actively participate, investigate and experiment to find out about the world in which they live