Supporting your child’s play activities is an important way to encourage kindergarten readiness. While playing may not seem to be a learning strategy nevertheless children’s brains are exploring and connecting in countless ways. Children are practicing valuable thinking skills as they play. They are tuning in to all sorts of social cues and practicing how they work. In his book Playing By Heart Dr. Fred Donaldson outlines the learning benefits of play. Through play, children develop a universal learning skill, that is their brains learn how to learn. Not only are their brains learning how to connect so are their hearts.
Dr. Alison Gopnik reminds us that “Children learn by playing with everyday objects and by pretending.” (Teaching Young Children Conversation with Dr. Alison Gopnik ) She assures us that neither parents nor teachers need to panic about preparing children academically, “But learning how people work and what’s in others’ minds is a much deeper and more profound learning.”
As the month finishes today, so does this set of blog posts on thinking and learning strategies. I began by focussing on what kids can teach us about learning instead of what can we teach them. By changing my perspective as I watched and listened to little ones I discovered new ways to support their learning. Enjoy this series of pictures of children playing. As your child plays today, try asking yourself “What can my child teach me about learning?