The Gift of Play: The valuable lessons learned through guided activities

Top Six Reasons for your child to attend Symmetry
October 25, 2018
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The Gift of Play: The valuable lessons learned through guided activities

“The play of children is not recreation; it means earnest work. Play is the purest intellectual production of the human being, in this stage … for the whole man is visible in them, in his finest capacities, in his innermost being.” ~ Friedrich Froebel

Froebel was one of the first people to truly understand the value of ‘play.’  We here at Symmetry believe in creating an environment that stimulates a love of learning through play.   Froebel’s gifts are the basis of the creation of the GABE system, which we have incorporated into our own philosophy.

The blocks, yarn and other shapes that are part of this system are tools for children to explore their world and how they interact with it.  He only had two rules for how his ‘gifts’ were to be interacted with:

  1. Each ‘gift’ must be incorporated into the play and
  2. anything created with the gifts or toys needs to be changed through modification and adjustment instead of destruction.

This creates an environment where the children can develop analytical and critical thinking as well as a sense of accomplishment.  This concept is called Design Thinking (ideating, making, sharing) and should begin in early learning.

Children can be encouraged to approach the Froebel ‘gifts’ or toys in three ways:

  1. Forms of Knowledge (math/science) Exploring the pieces – taking them apart and putting them back together. Developing the basics of abstract and mathematical thought.
  2. Forms of Life (life/world) Creating a narrative around the pieces – seeing them in their own life or creating a story around them.
  3. Forms of Beauty (abstract patters and designs) where they can explore the objects for what they are and what shapes and symmetry they can create.

This type of play stimulates a child’s imagination and creativity and can contribute to growing their self-confidence and feelings of accomplishment.  They also develop a sense of responsibility for care and clean-up.  Playing with simple things like blocks allows them to explore pre-number skills such as size, shape, matching and classification. Critical thinking and problem solving is inherent in block play.  This type of play also encourages visual discrimination, which is a pre-reading skill. They can learn concepts of inside/ outside, open/closed, and development of language and vocabulary through discussion and description. Play with small items also helps develop their fine motor skills and refine eye/hand coordination.  All of this while they are having fun!

Preschool is more than a preparation for Kindergarten.  Critical developmental milestones can be nurtured in the right environment.   Symmetry Early Learning Centre is a place where children and their parents can be part of a truly innovative experience.

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