When the early years take a shift from their comfort zones to a school or a preschool, they are welcomed by immense changes, and it takes time for them to adapt. Hence, teaching through the regular method of a textbook might not be a good and successful attempt. It is necessary to help the little ones who have started their journey toward education to ease up and make peace with the system of learning. This is where the importance of play-based learning comes into place. Inducing a child to learn about the world around them through carefully designed playful activities is the best way to get them started on the path to higher education. In this blog, we will be discussing and getting deeper insights on play-based learning and how it is the right step to start the education of early year children.
What is Play-Based Learning?
It is impossible to find children who hate the word “play” and the activities followed by it. The seriousness of education doesn’t come to younger children as and when they are put into a school. So, it becomes a requisite to gradually transition them to a stage where they become responsible for their own learning process. This transition can only be initiated by play-based learning in the initial stages. A play-based learning program encourages children to explore the world around them and find solutions to problems in innovative, imaginative, and creative ways.
Play-based learning is where both the child and the teacher get mutually involved in the former’s learning process. The teacher initiates inquiry in children and encourages them to be curious, which eventually leads to their asking questions. And this is one of the best qualities an early learner can nurture.
Elements of Play-based Learning
When children are instructed to follow and meddle, it cannot be termed “play-based learning.” It is work that has been disguised as play. So, in order to do maximum justice to the term “play-based learning,” it consists of certain terms like:
* Self-induced: whatever activity is done while initiating play-based learning has to be in the purview of the child. They will have the final say in what they choose to play, how they are going to play, and for how long. Supervision from an adult will be advised, but let’s limit the interference to that.
* Enjoyable: The play should be able to bring maximum happiness and engagement on the child’s part. Certain levels of irritation can be seen while starting out, but once into it, they should be able to enjoy it to the fullest.
* Unstructured: It will not be necessary to structure and design the play time with an intricate set of rules. The entire playtime will be according to their rules and needs.
* Process-oriented: The focus should be on the end product that the child learns through, not on how they got to it.
How is play-based learning different from the traditional approach of learning?
Now, play-based learning will also serve the best interest of the kids, but it should also have a learning objective. When traditional learning techniques are purely focused on getting to the end goal, play-based learning techniques are focused on involving the child and letting them be a part of the entire process of reaching the learning objective.
Even with specific goals to be achieved, it should not fluster the child and be managed under strict guidelines. Instead, let them find it on their own, and a slight nudge will be enough if you feel they are not going in the right direction.
Research that has been conducted over time has shown that play-based learning will have a more solid-affect effect on the learning journey in the primary years than the traditional teacher-oriented methods.
Giving to deal with lesson-related materials will help in guided learning, but it will never be monitored in an overly constructive sense. Giving them access to natural substances and allowing them to figure out concepts on the course will make them more responsible with what they learn, and that knowledge will last for a very long time. Traditional learning does not offer the practicality of how play-based learning works, and hence the outputs will also have positive differences.
The outcomes that can be gained through play-based programs
It might take some time for parents to make peace with the ideology of having their children subjected to play-based learning rather than the age-old methods of teacher-oriented learning. There may also be questions about why traditional learning techniques worked so well for previous generations of students.
But the change is how the tables have drastically changed with the generation of today’s world and the kind of access they have.
Through inducing play-based learning, schools and teachers are trying to improve the overall capability of children by helping them use their brains for analytical and logical thinking and even enhancing their motor skills.
Play-based learning can be done in two ways: through free play and guided play. Guided play is intentional teaching, where even when the students are given the choice of agency, the teacher acts as a co-player in the game.
Through these activities, the child learns involvement. Through involvement, they naturally gain the affinity to explore and discover things on their own. And with the competition that is there in today’s world, it helps them stand ahead and be more receptive to changes.
Play-based learning can also help them initiate curiosity, creativity, and the vigor to learn. They aren’t forced to learn concepts, which helps them see the learning process in a positive light.
Interactions with peers and teachers become far easier, and it will help them deal with social anxiety and be more communicative about their needs and requirements.
Play-based learning has been part of the international curriculum for quite a while. Because of their success, these are now being implemented in national and public school educational strategies. The learning foundation provided to the younger generation serves as the foundation for structuring learning in higher classes.