Great parents use play to support learning.
Did you know that 2-3-4 year olds learn differently than 7-8 year olds?
Research shows that young children have different learning processes than say, first graders. Preschoolers do not learn on demand. They learn because they want to. That can be a challenge.
At the same time, young children are naturally curious and eager to put their hands on things and figure out how they work. This is where the power of play comes in.
“For a small child there is no division between playing and learning; between the things he or she does ‘just for fun’ and things that are ‘educational.’ The child learns while living and any part of living that is enjoyable is also play.” - Penelope Leach
Great parents stash the flashcards and play with their children both inside AND outside. Great parents look for and support learning as it naturally occurs. For example:
“Children singing songs and listening to stories are building critical pre-reading skills — skills that are not just nice, but necessary for them to become readers. Little fingers lining up cars on a mat are building the fine motor skills that will allow them later to hold pencils and master keystrokes. At the same time, this play-work is also helping them build concepts of numeracy, such as a one-to-one ratio as they move cars one by one, or the ability to sort by attributes as red cars and blue cars find separate parking lots, or the ability to compare quantities as they realize their friends have more or less cars piled up than they do. All of these skills need practice and hands-on construction before we introduce the later math concepts that often play out on grade-school worksheets.”
-Amanda Morgan, Not Just Cute
Tips for Parents:
- If you want to teach your child something, gamify it. Make it fun.
- Connect learning to something your child is naturally interested in or curious about like dinosaurs, trains, or playing dress-up.