“Play is the work of the child”
—Maria Montessori (Italian Physician & Educator)
An area of study called the science of learning is showing that there is more to play than meets the eye. When children play they are engaging in activities which help them to make sense of the world around them, and how to learn how to learn. And learning occurs best when children are mentally active, engaged, socially interactive, and building meaningful connections to their lives.
1. Play is Mentally Active
Children explore their world with their five senses. Rarely do children stop to think about what they are going to touch and then touch it. They launch forward—touching, hearing, seeing, smelling, and tasting—and then they think about what they have discovered.
2. Play is Engaging
It would be difficult to find playing children who are bored. Engagement is the very essence of play. Children are naturally curious and excited to learn new things, and play is the way they make sense of their world.
3. Play is Socially Interactive
Play helps children practice their skills for getting along with others and learn how to make friends. Imagination allows children to pretend to be bold superheros or parents, while still feeling safe. When parents remember how to play, they become part of their children’s play space and are then welcome to share their play world.
4. Play Builds Meaningful Connections
Our Literacy Links workshops place the focus on play, making connections in the world of the children and their parents. One little fellow exclaimed that the volcano he made was “erupting.” His dad was surprised at such a big word until the little boy reminded him that it was in the dinosaur book that they read together every night. Another mom commented that she already had everything at home that she needed to play the “Build a Robot” game with her little guy, to help him learn his numbers.
If you are interested in hosting or attending a Literacy Links workshop, check the Centre for Family Literacy website for more information!
“Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn.”
—O. Fred Donaldson