Have you ever felt frustrated when repeatedly asking your child what they did in preschool today and they constantly; “we just played. ” Have you had the chance to observe your child’s class and all you see is your child playing with other children? Or even worse you see your child’s teacher and the only thing he/she seems to be doing is playing as well. You send your child to preschool to learn basics so that they will be ready for Kindergarten, right? Why are they wasting so much time playing? What you may perceive as wasted time is actually an essential and necessary part of your child’s development and learning process.
To play is to engage in or to function or perform. When your child is playing in the Dramatic Play or Block Area in preschool, they are not simply playing with toys. They are developing cognitive, socio-emotional, and physical skills. Some of the cognitive skills being learned are curiosity, problem solving, intentionality, verbal skills, etc. Socio-emotionally, th are learning confidence, cooperation, sharing, and how to communicate appropriately. Physically their fine motor and gross motor skills are being developed. These skills will last them a lifetime and prepare them for life after preschool.
Child Development Theorists Vygotsky and Piaget both emphasized the importance of play in the overall development of children. What is play? Wait… let me tell you. Although it is simple to compile a list of play activities, it is much more difficult to define play. Scales calls play that absorbing activity in which healthy young children participate with enthusiasm and abandon. Csikszentmihalyi described play as a subset of life…, an arrangement in which one can practice behavior without dreading its consequences. Garvey