Make a positive impact on your young child’s development with a childcare and preschool offering play-based education.
For any family, the choice of enrolling your child in childcare or preschool is one of the most important and stressful decisions a parent can make.
The market offers a broad choice of childcare providers and preschools with different approaches to early childhood education. In most cases, the objective is to prepare children for Kindergarten and life beyond, although the ways to achieve the goal may vary between schools.
For many years, play-based education has gained momentum in the educational community and from experts in early childhood education. It only takes a quick online search to notice the abundance of content about play-based learning to realize that it is an area of varying opinions and continuous research.
To simplify the discussion, the concept of play-based learning can be summarized as learning while at play.
Why Play-based Learning?
Children are naturally inclined to play. Using this natural disposition in a learning context, a play-based activity is a developmental opportunity that fosters children’s excitement and motivation to:
Play-based learning is a hands-on learning approach, in which children are encouraged to go through trial and errors to solve problems.
Dr Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Director of the Infant Language Laboratory at Temple University, says that “playful learning engages and motivates children in ways that support better developmental outcomes and strategies for life-long learning. If we hope to groom intelligent, socially skilled, creative thinkers for the global workplace of tomorrow, we must return play to its rightful position in children’s lives today.”
The Benefits of Play-based Learning
Children are stimulated through play. They become active learners that are exposed to challenging problems that they have to solve through exploration.
It is important to note that a good balance between child-initiated free play and teacher-guided play with intentional thematic teaching is essential to enable and maximize benefits such as:
Play-based learning supports positivity in the acquisition process and builds upon the natural curiosity of children about the nature of things and their environment. It boosts children’s enthusiasm and rewards persistence, imagination, and creativity to overcome problems. Ultimately, this impacts children’s self-esteem.
Play-based Learning vs Directed Instruction
Compared to directed instruction, failures are not a source of stress leading to demotivation. Failures are an opportunity for more experimentation. Failures have no negative impact on self-esteem which would have disastrous long-term consequences on a child’s life.
It does not mean that directed instruction has no place in education. It means that young children have more involvement and input into their knowledge and skill acquisition in a system where play is the vehicle for learning. NAEYC(The National Association for the Education of Young Children) offers interesting examples to connect play to learning.
Play-based activities offer a great framework for teachers to introduce STEMor STEAM while at play. STEAM is the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematic. STEM or STEAM activities are perfectly complementary to a play-based learning.
Are You Interested to Learn More about Play-based Education?
If you are interested to learn more about play-based learning and how we implement it at Willowdale Children’s Academy, do not hesitate to contact us.
Look For Childcare Where STEAM Is The Focus
Dell Technologies, with the Institute For The Future (IFTF), published a report in 2017 which says experts “estimate that 85% of the jobs that today’s learners will be doing in 2030 haven’t been invented yet.” Although this number is surprising given the timeline of only 11 years in the future, the report makes us question the future of our workforce and the impact of education in the evolution process. The opportunity for early childhood education lays in the foundational work that will set the path for the future workforce who will need to show consistent analytical and fast problem-solving skills in an even greater competitive environment.
STEAM has become essential for some preschools and childcare facilities. STEAM is the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics.
STEAM is more than a buzzword in young children’s education. At Willowdale Children’s Academy, it is one of the core educational approaches to your child’s curriculum and learning. STEAM works as an access point to guide young children to explore, interact, discover, discuss and develop critical thinking.
Why is STEAM Essential to Your Child’s Development?
The cognitive abilities of young children should never be underestimated. Children can inquire, produce reasoning and are capable of conceptual learning. It does not take scientific observation to notice how fast a toddler can use a smartphone and find his/her way to navigate menus, engage in apps and even accidentally order online.
If toddlers are able to find their way on a mobile device, imagine what they can achieve if they are offered a sensory table activity, or gather around an organized learning center, or challenged to structure art based on their interpretation of what they have observed or the last story they heard.
As young children have cognitive abilities, STEAM offers a framework that teachers use to develop their everyday activities. These activities need to be appropriately challenging for different age groups. Hence, do not expect your young toddler to solve complex equations.
By integrating STEAM into activities, teachers promote hands-on problem-solving, and creative and analytical thinking belonging to the children’s age groups. As children learn better when they have fun, a play-based curriculum is perfectly compatible with STEAM.
How Do Infants and Toddlers Build STEAM Skills?
STEAM skills acquisition starts at an early age in a very natural manner through play and exploration. If infants drop their toys a few times on the floor, they learn cause and effect. They can learn textures, the difference between hot and cold, smooth and hard through exploration of these elements.
These learnings are made through experiments, trial and errors, observation of cause-and-effect and the experience of physical rules. Infants and toddlers are naturally curious and investigative. Therefore, exposing them to different materials and new environmental circumstances will spark their interest. STEAM helps build interaction opportunities with the environment and helps infants and toddlers gather evidence to solve problems and create knowledge.
The Role of Adults
STEAM is an essential approach that helps to determine the path, structure the environment, and link all pieces together in a cohesive manner. Of course, adults have a big part to play in guiding, questioning and triggering reflection. By taking an interest, observing, listening, and responding to children’s interests, adults support children’s curiosity. If your child demonstrates a new skill, take an interest in it, try to understand the process that led to the result. It will motivate him/her to learn more.
Are You Interested to Learn More about STEAM or Do STEAM Activities at Home?
If you are interested to learn more about the STEAM activities we develop at Willowdale Children’s Academy or want more recommendations about STEAM activities you can do at home, do not hesitate to contact us.
10 PONDS EDGE DRIVE
CHADDS FORD, PA 19317
We are accredited NAEYC and KEYSTONE STAR level 4
Our programs incorporate STEAM
Avondale - call 484.720.8069
Gilbertsville - call 610.340.8008
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West Chester - call 610.344.9400