What Is Play in Early Childhood

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Play is fun. It is a method by which children gain all knowledge, skills and understanding they need to fulfil their potential in the early years. Play is something of great importance to children and sometimes difficult for adults to fully grasp its functions and value. Play is an essential learning tool and can make an important contribution to children’s life and their physical, social, and emotional wellbeing. It is crucial to their wellbeing as a form of learning, development, expression, communication, and connection with other children and adults.

Play is intrinsic to children’s quality of life: it is how they enjoy themselves. It is important that children and young people feel confident and safe to play freely indoors and out in a manner appropriate to their interests. National Children’s Bureau (NCB) 2005) Play that is well planned and pleasurable helps children to think, increase their understanding and to improve language competence. Play allows children to be creative to explore and investigate materials and to experiment. (DFES 1989, Cited in DFES 1990:11) UNCRC 1989 recognises the right of the child rest and leisure to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts. Schema

According to Athley 1990, he describes Schema as a series of patterns that children show in their learning and play. A pattern of repeatable behaviour in to which, experiences are assimilated and gradually co-ordinated. This helps children to make early categorisations and from that to develop more logical and general classification about the world around them. For an example is when a baby applies a particular action such as sucking to different objects they become more able to take a broad view about the objects. It is important that practitioner provide experiences that will enable children to use their schema, which will then increase their experiences. Children play pattern change and...
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