“Play is the highest form of research.” – Albert Einstein
School is out for the summer! While summer vacation brings outdoor adventures and family fun, the time away from the classroom can also bring concern for learning loss in some children. However, at Marguerite’s Place, we know that summertime can be a time of both fun AND learning. Play is a critical part of child development, and with the right support and encouragement, this summer can be a time for every child to grow.
“Play is the highest form of research,” said Albert Einstein. Fifty years later, science continues to prove just how valuable play is to all areas of a child’s development. Research from developmental neuroscientists, linguists, psychologists, biologists, and social scientists shows direct connections between a child’s access to free, open-ended play and their future success in school, career outcomes, and lifelong social and mental health. Simply put: when kids play, they learn, they grow, and they thrive!
Play-based learning is central to Child Care programming at Marguerite’s Place. It shapes our curricula, and we trust in each child’s innate ability to direct their own play towards the skills and abilities they are attempting to master. Children in our classrooms are offered a variety of hands-on, play-based experiences that encourage them to understand their environment and the learn the social concepts on which expectations in these environments are based.
At Marguerite’s Place, children are encouraged to explore and question through a variety of play scenarios that help them to experience their world, including:
Using sensory materials like slime, water, sand, and mud;
Science experiments involving Alka-Seltzer, heat, sunlight, mixtures of oil/flour/salt;
Body and spatial challenges like climbing/hanging/racing; and
Social interactions including resolving conflicts, learning personal boundaries during hands-on play, trial and error, and cause and effect.
Alongside them, teachers are there to extend and expand each child’s learning by asking open-ended questions, giving support during times of overwhelming emotion, offering socially acceptable alternatives, and modeling excitement and a love for learning that will stay with students for a lifetime.
So while you spend family time this summer, remember that learning and fun can go hand in hand. Incorporate a science project, create some art together, or simply play pretend. By finding time for play, you are both setting your child up for success and making lasting memories!