The report gives an overview of the early childhood development. Early childhood development is necessary for the productive life of a child thereby leading to the progress of a nation. Here, the report discusses about the role of play in the early childhood development of children in the age group of 2 to 6 years. Play helps the development process of a child in three different ways. These include social development, skill development and development of imagination and creativity. Children must enroll in places that encourage play based learning for effective development. The report thus discusses about meeting the requirement needs of the children in an environment that encompasses play based learning. In addition, diverse views on the act of play in context of the education system also are a part of the report. In addition, the play based learning also benefits the children in various ways like development of language skills and pre-literacy skills. The report also helps in understanding the difference between sole academic learning and play based childhood learning
Implications of Development in Children between the Age 2 to 6 Group deprived of the Opportunity to Play
Children in the age group 2 to 6 years deprived of the opportunity to play lacks proper development. They also lack social skills, emotional responses and creativity. They are also unable to build confidence and develop proper language and communication skills. Children deprived of play in this particular age group also do not learn to care about others as well as the environment (Smidt, 2013). Thus, these children deprived of the opportunities that play provides. However, in the age group of 2 to 6 years play helps children to learn the best lessons of life not taught in schools. The children in this age group deprived of the opportunity to play lack strengthening of the pathways of brain. This is because through the act of playing young children in the age group of 2 to 6 years are not only able to explore but also identify certain thing thereby giving it a meaning. The act of play not only helps in memory and language development skills but also regulates behavior that helps in academic learning and ensuring adjustments in school.
Lack of an opportunity to play for children in the age group of 2 to 6 years also deprives them of their development and life chances. This is because active toddlers growing up enjoying active play in natural environments not only lay the foundations of better health but also longer life. Active play represents the common type of physical activity undertaken by the schools for the overall development of the children (Barblett, 2010). Lack of play amongst the children also affects the ways in which the children relate to each other. This is because when children play they make use of their values, rules and own language that helps them in the developing their own identities. Moreover, children who can play freely develop skills for seeing things through other’s point of view and develop skills of cooperation, sharing and problem solving. Therefore, lack of play can make handling social situations difficult for them.
The natural way of building cognitive processes hindered with lack of play amongst children in the age group of 2 to 6 years. This is because, substantial evidence has been a proof of the fact that play refers to the natural means of building the cognitive processes and provides assistance in learning. Thus, act of playing amongst children also helps in fostering specific skills (Bergen & Frombert, 2009). However, playing should not only be as a means for learning but recognized as the primary drivers for total development of the children. In recent times, there is greater emphasis on the significance of providing attractive and spacious play areas for children even in the pre-school facilities so that children in the age group of 2 to 6 years have better skill, social, imaginative and creative development.
Meeting the Requirement Needs of All the Children in Play Based Learning Environment
Play based learning environment is created as a result of the natural desire of the children for engaging in experiences on the basis of strengths, interest and skills (Cutter-Mackenzie & Edwards, 2013). When a child initiates a play, he/she is not only motivated to learn but there is also creation of positive dispositions towards learning. However, the educator plays a very important role in supporting the play based learning. There the role of the educator and the range of strategies they adopt in supporting the process of learning include (Van Oers & Duijkers, 2013):
- Ensuring engagement in shared conversations with play experience for extending the ways in which the children think.
- Ensuring creation of balance in the learning environment
- Creation of learning environment for supporting learning
- Ensuring proper interaction with the babies and the children for building attachment
- Supporting the fact that all the children are a part of the play
- Recognition of spontaneous moments in teaching and making use of strategies of intentional teaching that includes demonstration and engagement in problem solving and shared thinking.
The Play based learning environment proves to be beneficial for the children. The benefits however include (Engelen, 2013):
- Helps in incorporation of children’s interest and ideas into planned routines and experiences
- This kind of learning environment helps in utilization of children’s interest and ideas for creating and extending newer experiences.
- Both the indoor and outdoor areas utilized in order to facilitate learning as well as playing.
- The program helps in offering a variety of play spaces that includes sensory, play, art and construction.
- Put forward a variety of open ended materials and experiences
- This kind of education program helps children to select materials and play in an independent manner.
- Through this kind of program the children is also able to transform the play spaces.
- In this program, the children allowed to play for an extended time without any kind of interruption.
- Helps in catering learning styles and different abilities of the children
- Enables connection of experiences to the lives of children
- Enables in linking the investigations of children to the key learning outcomes or areas
- This program offered flexible routines that pose minimal disruption in the activities of the children.
Describing the ‘Image of Learning’
Learning is a process that takes times from the process of initiation to implementation. This is because it requires time for depth understanding and command over the knowledge for problem solving and creation. Learning also implies the requirement of energy that is fueled through intake of healthy foods and appropriate quantity of exercise and sleep. The learning environment must be peaceful and safe so that it is able to nurture the love for learning (Cash, 2012). This is necessary because the learning environment is the place where questioning, risk and experimentation are accepted and sorted. However, optimum learning focuses on concretion of abstract and bigger task being broken into manageable projects. In this regard, if a student is facing trouble in understanding the place value then lessons provided so that there is no misunderstanding and the concept understood clearly. Learning also involves proper guidance from the adults. Learning is also a process that involves repetition. Repetition of activities aids the learning process for the children under the age of seven years (Geary et al., 2012). The process of learning ensures being friendly with the errors. Proper learning ensured through making mistakes.
Describing the ‘Image of Child Learning’
Learning experiences and activities are set up for supporting the ways that ensures the best learning for the young children. These include learning by doing, hands-on learning, trial and error, sensory exploration, play and ensuring the presence of positive role models for imitating and watching. However, the young children gets the best learning in an ambience that is child focused where there are ample scopes for exploration of their own and presence of activities that draws their interest (Fisher, 2013). The toddlers get actively involved in learning when they have an opportunity for acting on objects and ideas in their familiar environment. However, the learning capacities of children vary but with an interactive support from teacher along with encouragement and positive attitude, children are able to learn at the best of their abilities. Therefore, effective educators are not only knowledgeable but they also stay informed on the best practices and current research for the development of the toddlers. Therefore, they are able to engage the toddlers not only intellectually but also physically, emotionally and socially.
Reflecting the Importance of Play in Early Childhood Settings
The act of play is important in early childhood settings as it allows children to not only relax but also helps in the development of social skills that involves co-operation and concentration, development of motor skills, development of imagination and teaching of self-expression. Thus, the act of play allows the children in gaining knowledge and enables learning to remember think and solve problems. The act of playing also provides children with opportunities for testing their beliefs around the world. Games and puzzles introduced as a part of the playing activities helps in increasing the problem solving abilities of the children (Milteer, Ginsburg & Mulligan, 2012). Play based learning also strengthens the language skills and helps in stimulating different types of learning. They are also able to recognize the different roles played by the family members and at the same time gain an understanding of shape, size and texture. Play based learning through books, games and toys enhance the vocabulary of the children. Children are also able to develop a world of their own imaginations and have a development of the brain that is healthy. The act of play also helps a child in mastering the skills for enhancing self-confidence and at the same time recovers from the setbacks (Lillard et al., 2013). In addition, the children also get adapt in expressing their views, frustrations as well as experiences and they learn to be a part of group. Further, the act of play also helps in discovering their interest.
Diverse Views on the Topic of Play in Education Setting
The act of play in an education setting represents the primary ways for toddler learning. This helps in building self worth that gives a child a sense of his own abilities thereby resulting in a feeling of satisfaction (Goldstein, 2012). The act of play in education system involves fun and this helps absorbing them in whatever they do. They are not only able to concentrate better but also have an overall development. There are however diverse views on the topic of play in education setting. Around 80% of the teachers indicated that children learn through the act of play. It is through the act of play that they have fun and enjoy whatever they do. These teachers however had different viewpoints about the act of play in educations setting that are follows (Beneke & Ostrosky, 2013):
- Some said that play represents a spontaneous activity that revolves around having fun and undertaking physical activities.
- Some of the view that the act of play is a game and an activity that is enjoyable
- Some were of the view that the act of play represents focusing on enjoyment rather
Important Considerations in Addition to Play in Early Childhood Education Setting
Although the act of play is important for early childhood education but there are also other factors that needs consideration. These factors include:
Interrelationships with the Language Development Across various Age Groups:
In addition to the introduction of play in education, setting it is also necessary to consider the interrelationship that exists between motor, cognitive, and language development in children with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities (Hoff, 2013)
Typical and Atypical Development of Children
One of the important considerations is the typical and atypical motor development in children. In typical development of children, health practitioners and parents measure the child’s milestones for development from the level of infancy to middle school. However, the developmental milestones include the physical and behavioral signs of social, physical and cognitive progress that helps in mastering one’s environment (Falck-Ytter et al., 2013). Some of the examples of developmental milestones include crawling, smiling, manipulating objects, self-care, talking and walking that is responsible for providing valuable insight in the development of the child. In atopical development, every child considered unique since each have his or own style of development. When considering this kind of development, a common concern remains in the fact that if a particular child does not show signs of crawling when his/her peers have already displayed such skills. However, there are variations in typical development and these developmental milestones known as ranges.
Image of the Child as a Learner
Children learn through the process of observation, listening, exploring and asking questions and through experimentation. Therefore, once they begin school it is very important for keeping them motivated, interested and engaged. Learning will become more interesting if they come to know the reason. However, as the child grows older he will enjoy taking more responsibility for learning.
Reflection on Holistic View of Child Development in Early Childhood Setting
Thus, a holistic view of development in children refers to seeking and addressing spiritual, physical, relational, emotional and intellectual aspects of the life of a child. The importance of holistic approach is that children are able to learn differently at various stages. This includes walking, talking, fine motor skills etc. Thus, the holistic view refers to the overall development of a child.
The report ends in the light by describing the holistic on the overall development of children. Thus, the act of play is crucial as it helps cultivation and expression of creativity and imagination. Through the report, one will be able to understand that the act of play plays a crucial role in the development of a child.
Barblett, L. (2010) Why Play-based Learning? Every Child. 16(3)4-5
Beneke, S. J., & Ostrosky, M. M. (2013). The potential of the project approach to support diverse young learners. YC Young Children, 68(2), 22.
Bergen, D., & Frombert, D. (2009). Play and Social Interaction in Middle Childhood PhiDeltaKappan, 90 (6), 426-430
Cash, T. F. (2012). Cognitive-behavioral perspectives on body image. In Encyclopedia of body image and human appearance (pp. 334-342).
Cutter-Mackenzie, A., & Edwards, S. (2013). Toward a model for early childhood environmental education: Foregrounding, developing, and connecting knowledge through play-based learning. The Journal of Environmental Education, 44(3), 195-213.
Engelen, L., Bundy, A. C., Naughton, G., Simpson, J. M., Bauman, A., Ragen, J., ... & Schiller, W. (2013). Increasing physical activity in young primary school children—it's child's play: A cluster randomised controlled trial. Preventive medicine, 56(5), 319-325.
Falck-Ytter, T., von Hofsten, C., Gillberg, C., & Fernell, E. (2013). Visualization and analysis of eye movement data from children with typical and atypical development. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 43(10), 2249-2258.
Fisher, J. (2013). Starting from the child: Teaching and learning in the foundation stage. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).
Geary, D. C., Hoard, M. K., Nugent, L., & Bailey, D. H. (2012). Mathematical cognition deficits in children with learning disabilities and persistent low achievement: A five-year prospective study. Journal of educational psychology, 104(1), 206.
Goldstein, J. H. (Ed.). (2012). Sports, games, and play: Social and psychological viewpoints. Psychology Press.
Hoff, E. (2013). Interpreting the early language trajectories of children from low-SES and language minority homes: Implications for closing achievement gaps. Developmental psychology, 49(1), 4.
Lillard, A. S., Lerner, M. D., Hopkins, E. J., Dore, R. A., Smith, E. D., & Palmquist, C. M. (2013). The impact of pretend play on children's development: A review of the evidence. Psychological bulletin, 139(1), 1.
Milteer, R. M., Ginsburg, K. R., & Mulligan, D. A. (2012). The importance of play in promoting healthy child development and maintaining strong parent-child bond: Focus on children in poverty. Pediatrics, 129(1), e204-e213.
Smidt, S, (2013), The developing child in the 21st century: A global perspective on child development (2nd edition). New York, NY: Routledge
Van Oers, B., & Duijkers, D. (2013). Teaching in a play-based curriculum: Theory, practice and evidence of developmental education for young children. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 45(4), 511-534.