At Triangle Genius, we love to celebrate every child’s kind of genius – including of course, the littlest learners. We recognise the significance of quality early years learning in setting children up for success across all aspects of development.
In my decade + experience in the education system I have had the pleasure of teaching in our Early Childhood Sector as well as Primary and Secondary. The Early Years system is, in my opinion, well ahead of the curve when it comes to understanding human development and what constitutes success.
In general, Early Years settings promote and encourage play based learning and a fundamental sense of belonging to a positive community while this type of learning is essentially lost when they enter formal primary schooling (usually!).
The Early Years Learning Framework defines play-based learning as ‘a context for learning through which children organise and make sense of their social worlds, as they engage actively with people, objects and representations’.
One of our many featured businesses that inspire this type of learning is Hand in Hand activity kits. The exciting kits are thematically planned with ALL craft materials, tools and activity guides included for your convenience and delivered to your door!
Play-based learning provides opportunities for children to actively and creatively engage with people and with their environment. When engaging in play, children may be organising, building, making, pretending, exploring, imagining, investigating, interacting, problem solving and making sense of their worlds. It promotes the healthy development of some of the most critical components of childhood and can also provide the building blocks of pre-literacy and numeracy skills.
Children learn through playing, it is their ultimate superpower. They are learning some of the most important skills that promote social, physical and cognitive development.
Play-based learning fascinates children because of their natural affinity with experimentation and engaging in activities that reflect their individuality as they attempt to make sense of the world around them. For play-based learning to be most effective, Early Child Educators create an engaging environment that encourages the child to participate by ensuring they feel like they belong and their skills/interests are represented.
play-based learning involves activities that are self-directed, unstructured, explorative, Fun and process-oriented.
Studies show that play based learning promotes pre-literacy and language development. During the first 5 years, a child’s vocabulary grows exponentially and play encourages conversations to occur organically. It’s not only playing with their peers that promotes these skills, but playing alone can help establish language development as well (thank goodness for the lockdown/pandemic babies!!!)
Children will often talk to themselves while playing or recite the play/describe what the toys are doing etc., even recounting multiple sides of a conversation.
When playing with peers or siblings, children participate in different forms of communication including storytelling, negotiation, problem solving, turn-taking, casual conversation, taking on “roles” and many other important developmental building blocks. Educators and other adults can encourage language development through play by inciting conversation, asking questions, introducing new words and ensuring children feel safe and welcome to participate organically with the experiences at hand.
Play-based learning is crucial in developing a child’s emotional intelligence – such as the ability to develop and maintain friendships, show empathy and all the social skills children need to navigate the years ahead of them. Psychologists encourage play as a stress relief and as a healthy way for children to work through their emotions.
Quiet/calm play can also allow a child space and freedom to process information and regulate emotions.
Creativity is key
At Triangle Genius – we have a diverse range of wonderful businesses that all encourage creative learning, as well as celebrate the individual strengths of each child and the magic within them.
Play is pivotal in helping children process scenarios in their lives, this is why self-directed play is so important. It’s critical that adults don’t interrupt or intervene too much so as to not lose the magic of their wonderous imagination; a stick is an amazing sword, fairy wand, fishing rod or spoon. In that moment of play they are a firefighter, mum, dad, baby, fairy, unicorn, truck driver ….and interrupting this creativity or trying to steer the play really takes away from the amazing value of the experience. This helps them grow into creative, resilient and socially aware adults who are able to adapt with flexibility to the world around them.
Process – not product
During play, children take the lead – adults are not telling them what to do or how to do it, they are making decisions for themselves.
Being able to learn in this way, with independence and control helps a child develop a positive attitude toward learning. In play, there is no pressure on the “product”, the process is much more important, they can have fun and learn along the way.
Play-based learning helps children develop both fine and gross motor skills. Play such as throwing, climbing, running, balancing, skipping and jumping develop gross motor skills.
Fine motor skills are developed through play such as drawing, craft, beading, gluing, cutting, painting, creating and constructing.
RUTH SWAILES has made well-known, the X-rays of a child’s hand at 7 years old next to the x-ray of a child under five’s hand that shows the physical difference of children at these ages. While the bone structure is remarkedly different, the younger child also has a lot of cartilage that will eventually become bone at around 6-8 years.
While Early Childhood settings are remarkable in their efforts to encourage natural, play based learning that is age appropriate and child-directed – we know as parents, the pressure that is placed on very young children. Very young children are often asked if they know their alphabet, if they can read, if they can write their name… and the list goes on.
Sometimes the pressure comes from other parents who might “brag” about how amazing their children are and while you know logically that your following your child’s lead and allowing them to develop in an organic way – these words can sometimes eat away at us and lead to us placing that pressure back onto our children and trying to get them to engage in activities that they’re not yet ready for, such as perfect handwriting.
Looking at these pictures it’s clear that, developmentally, younger children are usually just not ready for formal handwriting – it’s something they will gain better control over when they’re physically able to – with the right gentle guidance, not pressure before they’re ready.
Children learn, through playing, the “pre-skills” to handwriting that encourage their fine-motor skills. These activities include scrunching paper, picking up small objects with fingers or tweezers, playing with play-doh, squeezing, beading, using scissors, craft and everyday activities.
Play beyond preschool
Play-based learning is generally associated with preschool children, but new research provides a model for playful learning at primary school and beyond.
The Australian Council for Educational Research and the LEGO Foundation have investigated the role and impact of learning through play in the primary school classroom.
Learning through Play at School explores eight different approaches to teaching and learning, or ‘integrated pedagogies’, commonly used in primary school education:
- active learning
- cooperative and collaborative learning
- experiential learning
- guided discovery learning
- inquiry-based learning
- problem-based learning
- project-based learning
- Montessori education
The report describes how these approaches are related to learning through play, and how they can hugely effect learning outcomes across a range of subjects and impact cognitive, social, emotional, creative and physical skills.
It is important to recognise that children today are growing up in a world where their future profession may not even exist. The world is changing so rapidly that it’s impossible to imagine the types of lives and careers we’re setting students up for. It is therefore crucial that we are teaching children how to learn, how to love learning and encouraging them to pursue their own interests and skill sets (their Triangle Genius’), as well as their own ideas about what success looks like for them.
It’s the skills, rather than the content that is most important – and it’s within beautifully open-ended, unstructured play that this learning occurs. Play based learning for all children, not just our preschoolers is encouraging complex thinking skills, resilience, divergent thinking, problem solving, communication, conflict resolution, social skills and emotional intelligence. While a lot of this crucial development occurs within the first five years, children never stop reaping the benefits of play.
HAND IN HAND ACTIVITY KITS provide families an opportunity for quality time exploring and completing fun, interactive activities together.
Unlock your child’s creative side with our craft kits
Art is a great way to keep your children occupied, but it is also enormously beneficial for their development as well. There are many known benefits that come directly from engaging in these kinds of experimental activities, with creative children known to have better fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
In some cases, they’re typically better at expressing themselves and being social, while these endeavors also enhance their self-esteem and decision-making skills – not to mention their ability to apply problem-solving and innovative thinking.
You can encourage your child to dive into the wonderful world of arts with these kid’s activity packs, delivered right across Australia. These craft kits are suitable for toddlers from as early as 18 months of age. The entire range which has been curated with young children up to six years old in mind give them the perfect start to their early education while also engaging them in craft activities that are fun for the whole family to be involved in.
The learning and fun that occur while exploring these wonderous packs is immeasurable. My son has been enjoying his dino pack that was sent to him by his Uncles for him to explore during lockdown and he LOVES it! He learned the vocabulary word “Paleontologist”, as well as the names of many different dinosaurs.
He has been enjoying craft, cutting, gluing, drawing, using tweezers, exploring outside to find treasures that he used to build a nest, engaging with stories, engaging in conversation, painting, sensory play and even playing alphabet bingo with his “dino eggs”. He loves everything about these activity kits and is learning without even knowing it – he’s just having a great time.
There’s themes to match every child’s interests and kids have the opportunity to interpret and explore the materials and activities in anyway they wish. The conversations are spontaneous, the instructions include pictures so kids can really go on their own creative journey without relying on someone telling them what they need to do if that’s how they wish to engage.
Once he made the dino puppet, this toy has taken pride of place in many imaginative games between him and his siblings, as well as many solo games while he explores all these new vocabulary words and info. about dinosaurs.
Check out this amazing and inspiring business and all of their creative kits.
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