“Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child’s soul.”
At Play to Learn we value the importance of play in early childhood. This creates numerous opportunities for children to explore the world and develop their sense of self and personal identity through meaningful, hands on experiences.
Our Childcare Approach
We are a mixed age childcare centre that encourages strong family values through ‘tuakana-teina’ (young children learning from older children and older children taking care and responsibility for younger children) as they would naturally at home. We strive to create a family-friendly environment where children feel loved and cared for at all times.
We respect and acknowledge the dual heritage of Aotearoa, honouring the Treaty of Waitangi and embracing the Maori culture and language. As New Zealand grows in cultural diversity, we invite all families to celebrate their personal heritage and traditions within our childcare centre.
Early childhood is underpinned by a long established tradition which emphasises the central role of play in early learning and development. The founder of play based learning said:
“Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child’s soul”.
Friedrich Froebel ( 1887)
Why is a play-based approach important?
When children play, they:
- Explore the world – natural and social
- Develop and practice social and language skills that may be more complex than in everyday activities
- Expand and challenge their physical skills
- Experiment with new ideas including symbolic competence required for formal learning
- Enhance their self-confidence
- Think and express themselves creatively
- Respond to experiences with or without language
- Develop their sense of self and identity.
What does play look like?
- Children may play on their own in solitary play; alongside someone else but
independently in parallel play or with other children in cooperative play
- Play may be structured, where someone else makes the rules and decisions
- Play may be unstructured, where the child is self-directed or takes all the initiative.
What can children learn in play?
- Positive attitudes of self-motivation and self-direction
- Cooperation and group values
- Curiosity, persistence and concentration
- Language and numeracy.
We can support children’s play by
- Allowing for extended periods of time for children to remain in ‘the flow’ of their play
- Providing resources such as safe household items and materials such as carpentry play
- Making enough space to focus on the play activity
- Catering for choices of activity, materials and equipment
- Role-modelling to encourage and extend ideas
- Challenging them with more complex thinking, novel ideas or experiences