Education Matters

5 reasons why play is important in the early years

Posted by Chris Wyatt on Nov 16, 2015 6:00:00 AM

Why play is important in the early years“Play is the highest form of research.” – Albert Einstein

A constant challenge facing early learning teachers is finding the right balance of ‘play’ and ‘structured learning’. Whilst this is an important debate and worth strong consideration, it should be remembered that we are making decisions about little people – little people who will only be five years old once. There are plenty of years of structured learning ahead where teachers can mould and guide students to ready themselves for life beyond school, but the chance to ‘play’ quickly fades unless it is nurtured and celebrated.

Trinity understands it’s natural for children to play. Through play, children develop their ability to communicate, socialise, construct understanding, express their creativity, develop gross and fine motor skills, and perhaps most importantly, to enjoy learning. This is not to underestimate the importance of structured learning, but play is and will remain an essential element of being young, both in age and mindset.

As our world becomes increasingly dominated by technology, it is becoming more important to foster the curiosity, creativity and adventure that comes through play. Play that is social, play that is imaginative, play that creates opportunities for negotiation, play that develops discipline and perseverance, and play that develops inquiry.

Perhaps we could all learn to play a little more. At Trinity Grammar School, Sydney we believe, “Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn.” – O. Fred Donaldson

Through play we develop:

  • Communication through speaking and listening, reading and writing.
  • Knowledge as inquirers, curious, questioning, connecting, making sense of the world.
  • Creativity through experimentation, imagination and invention.
  • Gross and motor skills through moving around, creating, manipulating objects.
  • Social skills through sharing, waiting, reasoning, empathising, risk-taking, respecting, co-operating, failing, problem solving, dealing with anxiety and fear.
  • Play – School preparation – without workbooks!

Some ideas that we encourage our Trinity families to participate with their sons include:

  • Engage your son in conversation.
  • Recognise colours, numbers and shapes in their everyday life.
  • Minimise screen time.
  • Share lots of books.
  • Sing together.
  • Invent musical instruments.
  • Make the most of car journeys – listen to stories, sing, chat, play “I spy …”.
  • Go for walks and discuss the environment.
  • Plant some seeds.
  • Bake together.
  • Make shopping fun.
  • Play simple board and card games – don’t always let him win!
  • Do puzzles together.
  • Visit museums.
  • Time without you (Pre-School, with family and friends, play dates).
  • Dress-up box, hand and finger puppets, cardboard boxes and blankets for cubbies, teddies and dolls.
  • ‘Useful Box’ – re-use boxes and paper, cardboard tubes, yogurt containers, egg cartons, sticky tape, safety scissors, colouring pencils, crayons and pens.
  • Paint at an easel.
  • Lego, Mobile, train sets – construction toys.
  • Go to the park/beach.
  • Play with a ball, hoop, skipping rope, kite.
  • Swimming lessons/swim for leisure.
  • Ride a bike/scooter.
  • Use scissors to cut.
  • Play dough and plasticine.
  • Set the table/tidy up.
  • Role-play – expect and model good manners.

To find out if your son is ready for a Trinity education at Kindergarten, read our Kindergarten Ready document here. You’ll discover what your son needs to be able to do in order to be Kindergarten Ready.

Kindergarten ready brochure download

Topics: Trinity difference, Kindergarten at Trinity, Early years