Let the Kids Learn Through Play
“Play is the work of the child” – Maria Montessori
“Play is the highest form of research” – Albert Einstein
“Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn” – O. Fred Donaldson
“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” – Fred Rogers
Almost all developmental psychologists and educators agree that the best preparation for success in school for preschool children is not the academic approach that pushes teacher-led-didactic instruction downward to younger and younger children. Rather it is a hands-on guided learning and discovery process that provides a language rich environment that stimulates intellectual, psychological and social skills.
A recent study of 3rd and 4th grade students showed that those children who received more didactic instruction earned significantly lower grades than those who had been allowed more opportunities to learn through play. The conclusion: children’s progress may have been slowed by overly academic preschool experiences that introduced formalized learning experiences too early for most children’s developmental status.
Play is essential to children’s development. Active exploration is how children learn “how to learn”. It is the kind of education that will produce children/adults who can discover and innovate rather than just be passive consumers of information and to be inventors rather than followers.