Play

Here in Choice Childcare, we offer a high-quality service, and value the positive impact Play has on a young child’s development. Our entire curriculum is formed from the emergent interests of the children. Play activities are planned by our highly skilled and qualified teachers, to support these interests daily and weekly. We follow Aistear, the national curriculum framework, and Síolta the national quality framework, to ensure that we provide high quality activities to support children’s learning and development.

The first years of life shape a child’s future into adulthood. This is when the most significant brain development happens, particularly in the first two years of life. Lack of play and communication, known as "under-stimulation", can have long-term negative consequences on a child’s learning and physical and mental health. Roughly 80% of brain development is completed by age three and 90 % by age five. This means a child cannot wait for primary school for learning to begin.

It was been established through many years of researching child development, that the most beneficial method for children to learn is through play. They are developing skills in all areas of development: cognitive, physical, communication, and social/emotional. It has also been identified as a natural stress reliever, and an outlet that allows children to work through their anxiety and fears. In Choice Childcare we promote and support the children in making their own choices during play.

Play allows children to practice verbal and non-verbal communication skills. Turn taking and sharing also develops. Play can provide a means for the child to express their feelings and learn how to cope with and manage being angry, sad or worried in a controllable situation. Play that involves children actively using their bodies develops fine and gross motor skills and body awareness. Using their bodies in play also enables them to feel physically confident and secure. Active play helps build energy levels, promotes flexibility and muscular strength as well as social skills and resilience. Social play also supports creative and imaginative thought. Make believe play is seen as vital to create internal imagery, stimulate curiosity and experiment in different social contexts.

Play is highly valued here at Choice Childcare. Here are a few examples of how play supports and promotes children’s learning.

  • Sand and water play can be an early introduction to science and maths, eg learning that water is fluid, not solid, and that it can be measured in different sized containers, that objects float or sink in it.
  • Playing with dough or clay, drawing and painting pictures, dressing up, playing with dolls all encourage creativity, imagination, expression of feelings and communication.
  • Building blocks, jigsaws and shape sorters can help with recognising different shapes and sizes, putting things in order and developing logic and numeracy skills.
  • Playing ball games, dancing, running, climbing all help to develop body movement, strength, flexibility, co-ordination and gross motor skills.
  • Games help with turn taking, sharing and mixing.
  • Dramatic play/role play is essential to a child’s social (or emotional) development and can play a large part in their physical development too. Children make sense of the world in which they live by acting out situations before they happen and by copying what they see around them. Pretend (or dramatic) play contributes to a child’s emotional development as they learn to see life from a different viewpoint and allows them to ‘trial’ situations before they happen. Most children are naturally imaginative and will happily talk away to someone on their toy phone or drive the sofa to the shop.
  • Outdoor play and exploration is extremely beneficial and necessary for their development. Outdoor play helps them to learn lots about the everchanging environment and gives them the opportunity to use their whole body and develop their gross motor skills. It can meet their multi-sensory needs and can give them a love for the outdoors.
 
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