Play Play Play!!!
It is widely understood that play is the most natural and effective way for children to learn between the ages of birth and six years. Aistear the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework in pre-schools, informs us that when children play they are learning a great deal about themselves and everything that goes on in the world around them while having fun. Therefore, giving children the time and opportunity to play freely and imaginatively, is one of the most important and valuable things that a pre-school can offer your child.
Some signs that learning through play and creativity is an important part of the pre-school day are that:
- Children are given lots of time to play
- Children are given choices about who and what they play with and for how long
- Children have access to lots of areas in the pre-school that encourage play such as, a home corner (could be a space set up a kitchen).
- Children have access to a construction area where children can play and build with different materials.
- Children can access an art area at all times where they can freely express their ideas and imagination through free drawing, painting, modelling and creating throughout the day (free meaning their own ideas and not teacher lead).
- Toy boxes are labelled with both words and photos, so children know where to find toys and return them
- Children are given opportunities to play both indoors and outdoors where possible throughout the day
Outdoor play opportunities
Outdoor play is important for your child, and it has many health and wellbeing benefits which cannot be matched indoors in the classroom. Things like running, jumping , climbing and adventurous play are not only fun for children but they are also important for your child’s growth and development.
When considering your pre-schools outdoor play area keep in mind that for your child to get the most out of the outdoor play it should be a space where children can be curious and play using their imagination with the opportunity to do things like running, balancing, digging climbing, and exploring. Not all pre-school services will have their own garden attached to the pre-school, but they can usually can still provide quality access to an outdoor space each day. Pre-schools will usually look for weatherproof clothing that allows your child to play outside in all weathers. These usually include welly boots, waterproof jackets gloves to keep your child warm and dry, and sun cream and hats in warm weather to protect them from the sun. It’s important that you provide your children with these items so they can enjoy outdoor play whatever the weather.