Play is learning – teach by being present

So much has been written about how children learn well through active play. To encourage and retain participation in the playground a combination of environment, resources and teacher availability is needed to support children in creating their own learning.

My passion for active play comes from a background in physical fitness and Matthew age 5 who is an endless source of finding new ways of doing things. I love this quote attributed to both Benjamin Franklin and Confucius which goes “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, Involve me and I learn”. Get them involved, children learn through exploration and experience – cognitive development best happens through doing , seeing and hearing together.

Children do learn working theories about their world and bodies from active play, but much more than this they learn how to self regulate, and what social expectations are and how to be part of their community. Appropriate behaviours are learnt through practicing and the role modeling and guidance of a significant other, wether it be a teacher, peer or parent.

The teacher’s role is to provide opportunities and experiences that meet the needs of individuals. This means we scaffold/ role model / facilitate and observing play. We need to be involved and encourage children to participate, stay focused and challenge themselves this may mean we need to be part of the activity or to be on hand to ensure rules and turn taking are adhered to.

By being near children who are developing their own play teachers provide a sense of security and influence self regulation. Provided there is enough challenge in the playground, by being present and focused on what children are processing we can limit negative and risky behaviours from children who need to extend themselves and provide an environment for fun, and imaginative active play (A.K.A Learning).

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