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Why is Play Important to Education? Play is a Learning Activity in Child Care, too.

posted Apr 23, 2015, 4:13 PM by Brenda Williams   [ updated May 1, 2015, 9:13 AM by Kevin Furst ]
Neuroscience has confirmed that learning begins at birth. Much of the way a child learns is through play activities. Play gives children opportunities to develop physical competence and enjoyment of the outdoors, understand and make sense of their world, interact with others, express and control emotions, develop their symbolic and problem solving abilities and practice emerging skills. Research shows the links between play and foundational capacities such as memory, self-regulation, oral language abilities, social skills and success in school.

Children of all ages love to play. From infancy, children act on the world around them for the pleasure of seeing what happens; for example, repeatedly dropping a spoon on the floor. Around age two, children begin to demonstrate symbolic use of objects – for instance, picking up a shell and pretending to drink as from a cup, at least they do this when they have had opportunities to observe others engaging in such make-believe behavior.

From such beginnings, children begin to engage in more mature forms of dramatic play, in which they may act out specific roles, interact with one another in their roles, and plan how the play will go. Such play is influential in developing self-regulation, as children are highly motivated to stick to the roles and rules of the play, and thus grow in the ability to inhibit their impulses, act in coordination with others, and make plans. High level dramatic play produces documented cognitive, social and emotional benefits.

As global competition increases, it is imperative that children develop a skill set relevant to today’s workforce and are able to approach challenges with creative solutions to successfully navigate our complex, ever changing world. Critical thinking and collaboration are integral to the jobs of the future. Balanced and active play helps kids develop these 21st century skills.

Play should be a part of a well-rounded school day. Kids need to read, write, do math, as well as practice problem solving, teamwork and creativity. Play helps children adjust to the school setting, enhances learning readiness and contributes to learning in school by reducing behavior problems while increasing academic engagement. (Excerpt from the US Play Coalition article on the Value of Play as printed in the Playground Professional News.)

Kid Konnection, our school age child care program, offers kid-based services, of which play is a primary activity. Summer child care is offered through Kid Konnection from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm. The program is designed to meet the needs of school-aged children, and is located at the Eagle View elementary school building. Call 218-562-6109 for more information on this summer opportunity for your child.

Registration forms are available on the school website at www.isd186.org by selecting Community Education and then Kid Konnection. Once you have registered your child to participate in the program, you can fill out the Commitment form to indicate which days and times your child will need child care. Commitment forms are filled out every two weeks, and you only pay for the days of service that you sign up for your child to attend. Payments may be made through the school district online payment service. A family-friendly feature is the second-child discount offered for a second child attending from the same family.

Kid Konnection is your place for high quality, affordable child care. Come play with us!

-- Julie Despot, Community Education Director