From the Early Years

Why Play?

At a quick glance, you might think that children in our ELC are ‘just’ playing. But… there is a huge amount of consideration that educators put into the selection of resources, learning spaces and the provocations put before the children, all aligned with the Early Years Learning Framework and our Programme of Inquiry.

Your child’s development benefits in many ways from their playful learning experiences at St Andrew’s. Consider the following…

Social and emotional development

Dramatic and imaginative play can help to develop positive social and emotional skills and values. This type of play provides opportunities for children to practise how to work with other children, negotiate ideas, and make choices and decisions as well as develop empathy and fairness. Children develop self-confidence by experiencing success and challenges and they learn to reduce impulsive behaviour and control their emotions.

Cognitive development

When children play individually and with others, their cognitive skills, such as thinking, remembering, learning and paying attention are all being developed. They have opportunities to explore problem solving, imagination and creativity as well as build their concentration, persistence and resilience.

Literacy and numeracy development

Play requires thinking, language, interactions, curiosity and exploration. Through play, children develop skills and understandings including:

· an increased understanding of words and their use

· listening and speaking skills

· pre-writing skills through scribbling, painting and drawing

· learning how stories work (plot, characters, structure, purpose and format of words on a page)

· learning that objects can stand for something else (a block can be a symbol for a telephone) which is foundation learning for formal reading, spelling and numeracy because letters, words or numerals are part of symbol systems

· learning that letters, words, symbols, numerals and signs have a purpose and are meaningful to others.

Physical development

Active play, such as climbing, running, ball games, digging, jumping and dancing supports the development of both gross and fine motor skills. This builds children’s overall health and sense of wellbeing, physical growth, appreciation for the benefits of active lifestyles and skills for independence and self-help skills, such as dressing or feeding.

Play based learning at St Andrew’s ELC fosters critical skills, understanding and dispositions which are essential for your child’s lifelong learning and wellbeing. You can support your child’s learning through discussion about the ELC learning program and sharing information about your child’s particular interests and abilities with their educators. We always welcome your input.

Alicia Flowers
Assistant Director of Early Learning