Why is play an important part of the curriculum in an early childhood classroom? Early childhood classrooms serve as an educational space where young children can learn, socialize with peers, and above all have fun. One way that has been shown effective for developing these age approriate skills is through interactive play.
It is through forms of play that children are able to gain a sense of themselves, their environment, as well as learn academic skills such as; reading, writing, math, science and social studies. As children play, either alone or with other children, they are learning how to share, cooperate, socialize, imagine, inquire, explore, and so many other valuable tools that they would not be able to master from teacher instruction alone. Throughout the course of hands-on play based learning, children are able to develop the skills needed to succeed in both school and their everyday lives if given the opportunities to grow as individual learners.
There is a great deal of research that shows how the early introduction of open-ended, hands-on inquiry based play can be very beneficial to young children in terms of school readiness and early literacy skills. This project will include several different activities and ideas for teachers to use in their classrooms to promote these types of open-ended play based learning that will keep the children actively engaged and entertained while providing beneficial, educational learning experiences.