Why Play Is Important in Preschool Classrooms

“If you want your preschooler to be ready for the academic rigors ahead, forget about the curriculum. Instead, look for a classroom that lets children learn the way they do best…

“‘For kids under 5, play is the foundation for creativity, constructive problem solving, self-regulation, and learning as a whole,’ says Susan Linn, cofounder of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and author of The Case for Make Believe. Play also helps preschoolers master the skills they’ll need for academic subjects later on. Storytime advances pre-reading skills like rhyming, wordplay, and the ability to follow a plot. A simple activity like playing with soap bubbles can stimulate science learning, while building with blocks establishes a foundation for understanding geometry. Repetitive play (such as putting a puzzle together, taking it apart, and then reassembling it) hones motor acuity, while unstructured group play boosts kids’ social skills…

“An early academic approach doesn’t seem to improve classroom performance. A study from the University of North Florida, in Jacksonville, found that fourth-graders who have attended play-based preschools outperform fellow students both academically and socially. And a study published in Early Childhood Research & Practice found clear links between pretend play and enhanced language ability. Your child’s future success in school doesn’t hinge on your enrolling him in a pre-K that teaches him to add and subtract or know the¬†chemical formula for water. It’s more productive to find a program that lets him have fun as he learns.”

To read the entire article, go to parents.com.

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