December 5, 2023

Play is an essential part of a child’s development, especially in preschool age. It provides opportunities for children to learn and grow in ways that traditional education cannot match.

What play is learning in preschool
What play is learning in preschool

Through play, children develop not only physical skills such as coordination and strength, but also vital cognitive, social-emotional and problem-solving competencies. By understanding how play shapes the young mind and body, parents, educators and caregivers can better support young children’s healthy development.

Preschoolers can learn things to play with

Play is the most important tool for the development of a preschooler. Through play, young children can practice and refine new skills, strengthen their creative thinking skills, learn to interact with others, learn about rules and routines, develop problem-solving skills, improve communication skills, and explore their feelings. Play helps children create memories that last a lifetime by encouraging them to make up stories, role-play scenarios or act out events from their everyday lives.

Types of play in the preschool classroom and what they teach

The kindergarten classroom is filled with many opportunities for play and learning. But what do each of the stations and centers actually teach? Here are some of the skills that every aspect of the preschool day offers to practice through play.

Dramatic playground

The area of ​​dramatic plays can teach students to:

  • Developing communication skills
  • Cooperative gaming
  • Trying out different roles
  • Enhancing imagination
  • Exploring and solving problems through real-life situations
  • It helps teach empathy
  • It helps children become abstract thinkers

Listening Center

The listening center is suitable for:

  • Developing listening skills
  • Vocabulary expansion
  • Using pre-reading skills
  • Linking stories and illustrations

Art Center

In the art center, children can learn more about:

  • Developing fine motor skills
  • Eye-catching creative expression
  • Improving hand-eye coordination
  • It helps to communicate ideas
  • It helps to learn cause and effect

Handling center

Working and playing in the manipulative center helps children focus on:

  • Coordination of small muscles
  • Fine motor skills
  • Developing grasping and manipulation
  • Building hand-eye coordination
  • Sorting, geometric shapes, basic concepts of numbers

Sensory table

At the sensory table, children have the opportunity to:

  • Observe, weigh, measure
  • Read about capacity
  • Build tactile awareness
  • Experiment and discover

Playing outside

When students are outside, a world of learning opportunities opens up for them. Some of these include:

  • Strengthening the core muscles so that they can later sit up straight at the table
  • They release energy so they can focus better later
  • Develop coordination and balance

Quiet/Cozy corner

This part of the classroom is ideal for limiting sensory distractions. It can also be used to:

  • Develop self-regulation skills
  • Rest your body and mind
  • Calm sensory systems
  • Build emotional intelligence

Music center

There is much more to learn at the music center than just music. Some of the things children learn include:

  • Developing rhythm and patterns
  • Expressing ideas and improving listening skills
  • Increasing blood flow and oxygen to the brain through movement
  • Supports balance and coordination

Block center

Playing with blocks is a great way to bring learning to the fore! Here are a few ways to do it:

  • Develops spatial concepts
  • Supports cooperative play
  • Improves gross motor skills
  • Experiments with balance
  • He studies gravity
  • Creates design and engineering concepts
  • Explores geometric shapes
  • He begins to understand cause and effect
  • Develops hand-eye coordination

And what happens in more academic centers? How is learning integrated into these areas? Here are some of the options.

Language Arts Center

  • Develops print awareness
  • It helps with the recognition of letters and sounds
  • It improves understanding
  • Reinforces sight words
  • Exercises independence
  • Expands vocabulary
  • Expands interests

Math Center

  • Grouping, sorting, classification
  • Estimating, weighing, measuring
  • Learning about numbers
  • Enhancing cognitive skills
  • Pattern and number sense

Center for Science Research

  • Developing observation skills
  • Discovery and exploration
  • Making predictions
  • Drawing conclusions from predictions

Writing Center

  • It helps with expressing thoughts
  • Improves fine motor skills
  • It helps train the brain to track from left to right
  • It helps with the transmission of ideas
  • It strengthens the correct grip of the pencil

Play is an essential part of a preschool child’s development and learning. Through play, children can learn how to solve problems, develop social skills, practice self-regulation, and explore their interests in a meaningful way. As parents and educators, it is important for us to provide opportunities for our young learners to engage in playful activities that will set them up for success later in life. By encouraging discovery through play activities, we give our young learners the tools they need for future success!


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