children at daycare playing with blocks

Play Based Child Care Environments for Rose Park Children

October 3, 2022
Play Based Child Care Environments for Rose Park Children

Learning methods are an important consideration for parents of young children, and one format that's growing in popularity around the country for both educational and overall child care programs is the play-based model. As its name suggests, this approach involves utilizing enjoyable activities as ways of stimulating the child's brain and encouraging healthy development -- what exactly are the key benefits of such an approach?

At First Steps Childcare & Preschool, we're believers in the play-based child care approach, and we apply it within our preschool, kindergarten and other child care programs in Rose Park and nearby areas of greater SLC. Why is the concept of play so important for young children in their development, and how does a play-based child care approach benefit many kids? Here's everything you need to know about this foundational tenet of our programs.

Social Development

One of the single most important benefits of a play-based learning environment is the way in which it helps children develop social skills. When kids are engaged in imaginative play with others, they learn how to take turns, share responsibility, and work together to accomplish common goals -- all critical social skills that will help them succeed later on in school and beyond.

For example, pretend play gives children the opportunity to try out different roles and explore various aspects of their personalities in a safe, low-stakes setting. As they experiment with being the leader or the follower, being assertive or passive, they develop a greater understanding of themselves and figure out how they fit into social situations.

Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving

In addition, vital cognitive skills like critical thinking and problem-solving are also fostered in play-based learning environments. When children are allowed to direct their own play, they learn how to come up with creative solutions to the various challenges they encounter. What's more, by playing with others, kids learn how to compromise and negotiate -- important skills for both personal relationships and professional ones.

Within play-based programs, for instance, it's common to see staff introduce minor "problems" or situations that children need to solve through play. This could involve a block structure that's too tall and needs to be knocked down, or it might be role-playing games in which children need to work together to achieve a common goal. Through these types of activities, children learn how to experiment, take risks, and persevere in the face of setbacks -- all essential skills for success in life.

Motor Skill Development

The use of gross and fine motor skills is also an important part of play-based learning. Through active play, children learn how to control and coordinate their large and small muscles, which in turn helps them develop the strength, coordination, and dexterity they need for tasks like writing, drawing, and cutting with scissors.

What's more, research has shown that kids who engage in regular active play have better motor skills overall, and are also more likely to lead physically active lifestyles as adults. This is one of the key areas where development today can mean improved health later on down the road.

Language Development

While it may sound counterintuitive, many play-based programs are actually more effective for child language development than specific language-based programs. This is because, rather than feeling like they're being forced to learn, children are more likely to absorb new vocabulary and concepts when they're engaged in activities that they enjoy.

In other words, kids are more likely to remember the names of different dinosaurs if they're playing with dinosaur toys than if they're asked to sit still and memorize a list of them. In addition, by encouraging kids to use language during play, adults can help them learn how to express themselves more effectively and build their confidence in communication.

Physical Skills and Development

Another major benefit of play-based learning is the way in which it helps support physical development. This is due to the fact that, in order for children to engage in many types of play, they need to use their bodies in a variety of ways.

For instance, climbing, jumping, and throwing all help improve strength and coordination, while games involving chasing and being chased develop kids' sense of balance and spatial awareness. As a result, children who engage in regular physical activity tend to have better overall motor skills and are less likely to become obese later on in life.

Emotional Development

Play-based learning environments also offer a great opportunity for emotional development. Through play, children learn how to express their feelings, deal with frustration and anger, and develop empathy for others.

In addition, by providing children with a safe and supportive environment in which they can explore new things, play-based programs can help build kids' confidence and self-esteem. As children become more comfortable with taking risks and trying new things, they learn that it's okay to make mistakes -- an important lesson that will serve them well throughout their lives.

Cultural Awareness

Finally, play-based learning environments also provide opportunities for children to develop an understanding and appreciation of other cultures. When kids are exposed to different types of play from around the world, they learn about the various customs and traditions that make up our global community.

This not only helps children develop a greater understanding and respect for others, but it also opens their eyes to the many different ways in which people live -- something that can be invaluable later on in life.

For more on why we believe so strongly in the play-based child care approach, or to learn about any of our preschool, kindergarten or other educational and child care programs in Rose Park or surrounding areas, speak to our caring staff at First Steps Childcare & Preschool today.

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