The Importance of Play - ECE to SK
One of our core beliefs is that "Play is an essential tool and process through which children make meaning." Young children learn best by doing. They need hands-on sensory experiences and opportunities to learn by exploring, manipulating, moving and talking. Purposeful play offers children these modes for learning. Children at play are motivated and focused as they build understanding together and share their ideas. Play is the real work of young learners. It furthers their brain development, physical and mental health, and language, literacy and social skills.
Children in Early Childhood Education (ECE) to Senior Kindergarten (SK) have daily opportunities to build knowledge and skills through play as they practice collaborating with others. Play is the vehicle through which they will take their first steps in writing, reading, number, problem solving and creative thinking, and develop their fine and gross motor movement. Teachers observe and guide children's play to support their learning.
The environment in our Kindergarten classrooms is carefully orchestrated to create opportunities for exploratory, constructive and dramatic play with hands-on materials and a variety of activities. In the classroom, you will see children involved in explorations of Mathematics and Literacy concepts, and social skills in the following centres:
- The art centre provides an opportunity to explore the tools and materials of a different media.
- The construction centre encourages children to create structures of different shapes and sizes with a variety of materials.
- The drama centre gives children opportunities to participate in role play and to use their oral language to communicate and to listen to others.
- The book centre offers a variety of books with which children may retell predictable texts, and develop their awareness of symbols, numbers and letters.
- Sand and water centres provide hands-on exploration and tactile stimulation.
- Centres related to topics of study offer children an experience to probe further in a Unit of Inquiry.
Outside play exposes children to different activities to develop their gross motor skills, and to learn to take turns and to share equipment. Children in the Exploratory Years also use our garden spaces for explorations in a natural setting.
Children gather often to sit down with their teacher for large group discussions in ECE and Kindergarten. This circle time is an opportunity to focus on early understandings in Literacy and Numeracy and to discuss ideas related to the Units of Inquiry. As children join in songs, stories and class discussions, they are learning to listen and to participate in large group activities, to develop an awareness of personal space, and to follow daily routines.