The Power Of Play…. An Alternative Education.

Has your 5 year old got ants in their pants?………. Mine too!

If your children are due to start education this September but your concerned about their willingness to sit still and engage in an activity for little more than 5 minutes then this blog is for you!

This particular article was inspired by a conversation with a complete stranger at the park last week, as her 5 year old son was running around playing a very energetic and all important game of tag with other kids she began to tell me that her little challenger was due to start primary school this September, She went on to tell me that with this in mind, throughout the past few weeks she had been trying to encourage him to do a little learning at home by kitting herself out with cute workbooks and expensive flashcards. Not only was she slightly miffed that she seemed to have completely wasted her hard earned money but more importantly it had ignited an anxiety that she had not experienced before. She was visibly concerned when she told me how she was already dreading the first parents evening because she already knew from her slightly older daughters experience that her son would not be able to achieve the required standards of work because he just couldn’t sit still for more than 5 minutes during the day. In amongst this train of thought she had somehow convinced herself that there was something wrong with her children.

This made me incredibly sad and I pointed out that not only was her 5 year old well within the realms of what I deem as “normal” (whatever that is) but that it should never be up to a parent or child to shave off the spikey, colourful edges that make them so unique in order to make them into the required ’round peg’ but rather we need to encourage more hands on and play based learning and adapt the round hole of society to accommodate them.

Because we are programmed by default that structured curriculum based learning is a priority in school, we shouldn’t loose sight of the fact that it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the right way for all children.

When children reach the ripe old age of just 4 or 5 years old, we seem to think that overnight when they start education for the first time, their purpose is suddenly to learn and prepare for their older years ahead of them when in actual fact, the only real purpose of a child is to be a child.

Think about it like this, up to now your children have developed amazing skills that will form a solid foundation to carry them through life. Some of the most fundamental parts of living in the real world such as manners, social skills, empathy and imagination.

You may have heard the phrase ‘Lead by example’ I genuinely believe that we learn in exactly the same way.

So far, these important skills have been learned by been little more than an observer with not a single workbook or expensive flash card in sight yet we are programmed to believe that beyond this point in their lives the only way that they can continue to develop and grow is to be told how to do so by a textbook.

Imagine that as an adult, for the next 10 years you are expected to work in the same office with the same faces and surroundings day in day out, all of which are not of your choosing. You dont even have any interest whatsoever in the job role or company and you have little to no prospect of accessing further skills or development.

Imagine for a second how frustrated and restricted you would feel and how, potentially, it would affect your outlook on life and what you could achieve in the future.

Obviously in a school setting, children and teachers are bound by curriculum and time tables to accommodate the ratio of children to staff and much to the frustration of so many teachers, because the outdated system is unfit for purpose, they are also restricted in so many ways to be able to adapt that round hole that your children are expected to fit into.

If your children are starting school or you are embarking on your first home education journey, it’s important to remember that the sit down regulated way of learning should only form a small portion of what your children really need to grow and develop. During the time that they are at home, you should never feel railroaded into continually thinking that you have to provide a constant stream of education just because a bunch of strangers sat around a table decided upon that course of action many years ago without taking into consideration the spikey edges of our children and what they may need to evolve into fabulous human beings!

We must never loose sight of the fact that play is an essential aspect of a child’s development, serving as a powerful tool that goes beyond mere fun and entertainment. For children, playtime isn’t just a break from learning, it is learning!

Here are just a few of the amazing skills that I feel are a result from the power of play:

Cognitive Development: Play allows children to engage in imaginative scenarios, solving problems, and making decisions. Whether building with blocks, engaging in pretend play, or solving puzzles, these activities stimulate critical thinking skills and creativity. This helps lay the foundation for logical reasoning and cognitive growth.

Social Skills: Playtime offers numerous opportunities for children to interact with their peers. Whether it’s playing games, sharing toys, or engaging in group activities, children learn valuable social skills such as communication, cooperation, and empathy. These skills are crucial for building healthy relationships throughout life.

Physical Growth: Active play, like running, jumping, and climbing, contributes to the development of gross motor skills. Fine motor skills are also refined through activities like drawing, coloring, and using building blocks. These physical activities not only promote health but also aid in the development of coordination and body awareness.

Language Development: Play encourages language exploration. Children engage in conversations during imaginative play, express themselves through storytelling, and develop their vocabulary as they describe their actions and creations. This helps in enhancing their language and communication skills.

Emotional Regulation: Play provides a safe space for children to express their emotions and make sense of their feelings. Through role-playing and pretend scenarios, children can explore different emotions and learn how to manage them in a controlled environment.

Creativity and Imagination: Playtime fosters creativity by allowing children to explore their imaginations without constraints. Whether creating art, inventing stories, or playing make-believe, children are encouraged to think outside the box and come up with unique ideas.

Confidence Building: As children engage in various types of play, they experience a sense of accomplishment and build confidence in their abilities. Overcoming challenges during play helps them develop a positive self-image and a “can-do” attitude.

Cultural Understanding: Play often involves elements of cultural exploration. Children can learn about different traditions, roles, and customs by engaging in diverse types of play that expose them to a variety of scenarios and perspectives.

So next time you are concerned that your children are using the sofa cushions to build a fort, using a banana to defeat the dragon in the bathroom or insist on going to the supermarket dressed as an extra from Toy Story, please remember that by letting them have the freedom to explore, imagine, and create – you are giving them the greatest lesson of all time because they are crafting a foundation for a lifetime of learning and personal growth through the things that they enjoy most in the world with the people that they enjoy the world with!

Lets Keep In-Touch!

If you would like to hear about my new blogs, keep up to date on the latest products and receive offers and discount notifications, please fill in your details below!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Leave a Reply

Related Posts

Begin typing your search term above and press enter to search. Press ESC to cancel.

Back To Top