On March 28th I was invited to collaborate with one of the series training on curriculum and play offered to daycare centers by CCCW. Specialist Sandra Arasim invited me to help show other providers the importance of structuring play around fun centers. The Child Care Council of Westchester gave me the freedom and trust to conduct a training like it has not been done before.
In order to attempt to bring out the child’s mind and creativity in our teachers, I removed all grown up furniture in the conference room. I brought out some of our children’s favorite toys, most of them are handmade and catered to their interest. Provider assistants and teachers from different centers arrived on Tuesday at 6;30 pm. They seemed mesmerized and a bit confused at the same time. I was able to observe the difference between an adult mind and a child’s mind. There is a big gap between the natural desire to play in adults and the intense passion in children. In order to make our teachers understand how valuable play is for the development of ideas, creativity, imagination and simple brain plasticity I wanted them to play. It took little before they felt comfortable in their environment but once they began to play I was able to reinforce the training with some cool findings and facts.
The following is the transcript of my powerpoint presentation
Before we understand the importance of play in children I want you to understand the importance of play period.
Play is not just essential for kids; it can be an important source of relaxation and stimulation for adults as well.
“Play isn’t just important for kids — it’s beneficial to our society. It’s time for adults to take it seriously, both for their sake and for their children’
Google, GE, yahoo, facebook, amazon have incorporated play, games, and environments that promote and support relaxation in different forms. They provide employees with game rooms, cozy corners or play time in order to promote relaxation and increase creativity along with other benefits such as:
- When we play, participate in fun activities such as hobbies or games we enter in a state of positivism. When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work.
- Relieve stress.Play is fun and can trigger the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain
- Improve brain function.Playing chess, completing puzzles, or pursuing other fun activities that challenge the brain can help prevent memory problems and improve brain function. The social interaction of playing with family and friends can also help ward off stress and depression.
- Stimulate the mind and boost creativity.Young children often learn best when they are playing—and that principle applies to adults, as well. You’ll learn a new task better when it’s fun and you’re in a relaxed and playful mood. Play can also stimulate your imagination, helping you adapt and problem solve.
- Improve relationships and your connection to others.Sharing laughter and fun can foster empathy, compassion, trust, and intimacy with others. Play doesn’t have to be a specific activity; it can also be a state of mind. Developing a playful nature can help you loosen up in stressful situations, break the ice with strangers, make new friends, and form new business relationships.
- Keep you feeling young and energeticIn the words of George Bernard Shaw, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” Playing can boost your energy and vitality and even improve your resistance to disease, helping you feel your best
When we play, participate in fun activities such as hobbies or games we enter in a state of positivism.
When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work.
For children relaxing translates in the form of play.
Children live in the constant state of playing curiosity and drive.
Why is play important?
When a child plays their neuro-receptors are activated and by the same reaction, they start to create a connection in their brain. These connections translate into an immediate new skill or knowledge acquire or they create bridges in which future learning will be received with ease.
This is why some children seem to learn fast when presented with new information. This can also be a genetic predisposition or it can very well mean they have a strong connection that had been created in their brain during early years.
Now how can we promote and support play during early childhood years;
By creating centers
Advantages of Learning Centers
- Discipline problems are reduced because groups are limited to a number which can reasonably function in each area.
- Classroom management is easier since children are in the area of their choice and interest.
- Children are engaged in hands-on activities as they explore and experiment.
- Caregivers can support children by supplying the resources as they learn by themselves.
- Caregivers can determine, by observation, the progress of the children.
- Caregivers can easily determine what items need to be added to each area that will encourage children in further discovery.
- Children understand classroom rules more easily when they apply to specific areas.
- Each area contains only the essentials that allow children to control and create.
- The purpose of the area is clear and understandable to children.