The Benefits of Play Based Learning in Preschool Education

The Benefits of Play Based Learning in Preschool Education
What is Play-Based Learning?

At The Goddard School®, we take play seriously! Children learn about themselves, others and the world around them through play, which is why it’s a hallmark of our educational program.

Key Elements of Play-Based Learning

There are several principles of play-based learning that we use in our classrooms, including:

  • Self-directed: It's important that children are in charge of their own play. Teachers guide children toward learning outcomes, which helps them build their confidence as they explore the world around them.
  • Process-oriented: Children should work through their own processes when it comes to creative pursuits and play. We’re not focused on an end product but enjoying the process of creating and playing.
  • Imaginative: Playing pretend helps children develop important social-emotional skills like empathy, problem-solving and responsible decision-making.

Unique to our play-based approach is inquiry-based learning. Children are little scientists who are naturally curious about everything! In Goddard classrooms, children explore questions through role-playing, experimenting and collaborating with their friends. They ask more questions as they seek to understand their world through trial and error, taking chances and making new discoveries. We encourage children to seek information and deeper understanding rather than just settling for an answer because learning is forever, and an answer is just an endpoint.

Benefits of Play-Based Learning

Play isn’t just fun, it’s fundamental! The beloved Mister Rogers once said, “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning.”

When kids in our classrooms are playing, we are not just marveling at how cute they are – we’re paying attention. We use the natural interests of children during play to guide everyday lessons, helping your child become fully invested in the learning process. By providing children with myriad opportunities to play, they can explore their creativity, engage with others and develop their own interests.

Play-based learning:

  • Supports language development.
  • Boosts creativity
  • Promotes conversation between children, peers and teachers
  • Supports the development of social-emotional skills
  • Helps children feel positive about education
  • Improves fine and gross motor skills

In our classrooms, children get the hands-on experiences that they need to focus their attention, all while interacting with peers while being gently guided by trusted adults. We believe in meeting children at the nexus of challenge and ability, instilling confidence while also encouraging them to learn new skills and develop new interests.

Play-Based Learning Activities for Children

Ready to bring play-based learning into your home? We've got you!

Some fun ways to introduce play-based learning into your home include:

  • Creating musical instruments out of household items and writing a song together
  • Listening to music you are not familiar with and making up fun dance moves
  • Pretending to do household chores (ask your child to walk you through the process of doing laundry, cooking breakfast or driving to the post office)
  • Playing card and counting games
  • Sorting beads, marbles or colored tiles
  • Spending time outside — you can play soccer or go on a bug hunt. Let your child follow their curiosity!
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