Imaginary play or role-playing is an extraordinarily effective way for children of all ages to learn. And it is great fun! That is why so many teachers and child-carers encourage children to adopt roles and pretend.
Role-play is a nursery for creativity and imagination. When a child plays make believe, they recall sights, sounds, smells, taste and sensations from their own experiences and imagine themselves in all manner of scenarios. Children place themselves in contexts where it is safe to explore options, practise behaviours, take risks and make mistakes. In these imaginary places, children are able to experiment with and solve problems. They develop a better awareness of themselves and begin to dream about what they can become as they grow.
Imaginary play is usually a social activity involving both verbal and non-verbal communication skills. Since role-play provides opportunities for children to interact with one another in all manner of scenarios, it is a great way for children to practise and develop the skills they will need to interact and cooperate with other people in real life. These scenarios often involve negotiation, as boys and girls express their views and listen to each other. Importantly, children realise that participation involves listening to others in order to make the scenario successful and fun. They also mimic, practise and adapt language they have heard others use in real-life contexts. This assists children to develop vocabulary and language skills.
Role-play can also provide invaluable opportunities for children to learn empathy for others. As they take on roles and interact with other characters beyond their real-life networks, boys and girls develop an understanding of different perspectives and imagine themselves in another’s shoes.
These are just some of the benefits which demonstrate how role-play can impact a child’s development. Why not experience them for yourself by making a moment to play pretend with your son or daughter? You just need to decide … who will be the doctor and who gets to be the patient!
At Trinity Grammar School, we recognise the importance of making a good beginning. The myriad of opportunities provided in Pre-Kindergarten, the first year in a school setting, lays the foundations for future learning. To learn more about the Trinity difference, and how our early learning opportunities set boys on the path to realising their potential, passions and purpose in life, download our Pre-Kindergarten prospectus.