July 25, 2019

Make Time for Playtime

As well-meaning parents, we want to make sure we’re providing every opportunity we can for our children to learn. In doing so, we sometimes inadvertently pack our children’s schedules so full that there’s little time left for them to just be kids and play.

A report published in August 2018 by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) contends that children’s time has become so structured that there is a growing play deficit. Children today, it notes, have less free time for play than in decades past. To address the situation, the report’s writers include among their recommendations that pediatricians should, “encourage playful learning for parents and infants by writing a ‘prescription for play’ at every well-child visit in the first two years of life.”

The report underscores the value that unstructured play has in a child’s development, a finding that’s consistent with our philosophy at Kiddie Academy® Educational Child Care. “We should consider play as an integral part of a child’s learning time,” said Sandra Graham, Kiddie Academy’s Director of Training. “Play is children’s work. They learn naturally through play. It helps them develop their imagination, emotions and problem-solving skills.”

“At the core of Kiddie Academy’s education program is our belief in learning through play,” said Richard Peterson, Kiddie Academy’s Vice President of Education. “This ‘play’ is intentional and is facilitated by skilled teachers. Children in our Academies learn with their whole bodies, explore their surroundings freely, talk with peers and teachers about what they are learning, organize their thoughts through trial and error, and discover how to relate to others. Learning through play meets the needs of all types of learners—visual, auditory and touch. It allows children to develop socially, cognitively, emotionally and physically.”

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), has several good articles about the importance of play. One of them points out Five Essentials to Meaningful Play. In short, here’s what NAEYC says we need to remember about play:

  1. Children make their own decisions.
  2. Children are intrinsically motivated.
  3. Children become immersed in the moment.
  4. Play is spontaneous, not scripted.
  5. Play is enjoyable.

Find out more about how playful learning is integrated in Kiddie Academy’s Life Essentials® curriculum.

Here are some additional resources about children and play:

American Academy of Pediatrics Clinical Report

10 Things Every Parent Should Know About Play (NAEYC)

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