Active play promotes the physical growth of the children. Small muscle development is achieved through the use of puzzles, or other table toys or creative materials, and hand and eye coordination through block play, crafts, etc.
Group activities, such as snack time, story time, and informal activities, encourage social growth. Emotional Growth is accomplished through dramatic and imaginative play, sharing of equipment, encouragement of independence (not frustration), the completion of projects started, and the freedom in choosing an activity (e.g.: choice of table toys, creative materials, books etc.)
Intellectual Growth is achieved by confronting the children with learning situations through science and nature study, through conversation, story time, book time, CD’s and film strips, problem solving, and the opportunity to experiment and discover.
TYPES OF PLAY AND THEIR VALUE
Children need a lot of fresh air and exercise. It helps to develop strong muscles and healthy bodies. When out in the open, children get a sense of freedom and a spontaneous urge to jump and run. It gives them a chance to “let off steam” in the company of others. They begin to learn to get along with their peers in the liberating atmosphere of the great outdoors. Examples of outside activities include, but are not limited to: sand play; water play; riding the bikes; and woodworking.
Through the use of puzzles, table toys and creative materials such as painting, pasting, cutting, crayoning etc., the young child experiences the joy of creating and satisfaction from the use of the supplies. This helps to increase hand / eye co-ordination and to develop powers of concentration and manipulation. A child’s satisfaction is in what s/he does. The enjoyment s/he gets out of it does not always concur with our feelings as adults. Therefore, remember to consider the quality of the play, not the quantity of the products. The children will use a variety of other materials, like play dough, clay, or blocks. Play dough is a good beginning point for the shy or nervous child to enter into the group.
MUSIC AND DRAMATIC PLAY
Children learn to sing familiar songs with the group, and to make their own songs. They learn to listen, to experiment with instruments, and with the movements of their bodies. Dramatic play is wonderful for teaching self-expression and the release of tension. Imagination is a way to cope with the problems of being little. By pretending to be someone else, s/he is able to act out experiences and to reinforce his/her comprehension of his/her world. Dramatic play is also a great help in enabling the little child to adjust to new situations and people – e.g. a new baby in the family. Both music and dramatic play help children find emotional release and creative expressions uniquely their own.
Children learn through books. They need books to grow up on, to grow in the understanding of their own world, other races and the acceptance of others as well as self acceptance. Books help to increase children’s capacity for laughter.
SCIENCE AND SOCIAL STUDIES
Through the use of books, discussions, gardening and occasional excursions, children learn about their ever-widening world. As they explore their environment and community, they wonder, question, and draw tentative conclusions and test them by experiment and observation. They clarify their thinking, preserve their basic curiosity and are satisfied but not sated.