"We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing." - Charles Schaefer, Psychologist, Author Play Therapy
There is no better sound then a group of children playing quietly, entirely immersed in their imaginative world.
Young children are infinitely curious and seek out connections of meaning in their developing sphere. Baby’s eyes are often wide with intrigue. As they grow, their senses are on high alert, absorbing the manifold elements, textures and sounds of the world they are in. Slowly, their knowledge builds. Early childhood development is intricately linked to play. Through play, children begin to learn.
At Playgroup, we focus on play and connection. From ages 0-5, early learning is nurtured before formal education commences. As much a place for the adults in the equation as the children, Playgroup provides a sturdy foundation to build upon.
Children love having fun and learning new things. They will often want to repeat an activity they have enjoyed or found fascinating, advancing their development in particular areas. It is interesting to observe children as they play, even as babies they are eager to be part of playtime. Babies make great developmental milestones during play. For example, as they reach their arms up to grasp their Dad’s hand, crawling to their favourite toy, or forming words to communicate. Subtle growth occurs, and bit by bit, children develop skills that equip them for future progress.
There are significant learning advantages tied to free play, but at the heart of the matter, play is more than a linear, measurable part. Play intricately weaves knowledge and skills that children will carry with them throughout their life. Play encourages the refinement of skills through social interaction, toy play and a wide range of activities such as craft, cooking, outdoor play and singing.
Healthy habits are established early at playgroup as the children learn about nutrition during snack time and exercise is a big part of natural play. Knowledge surrounding diet and healthy activity is reinforced.
Children in the modern world spend quite a lot of time in front of screens. Traditional methods of play can at times be replaced with the distraction of a screen, and is it any wonder. As we watch the evening news we are constantly reminded of the dangers in the world. We fear for the safety of our young children and want to hold them close and keep them in their innocence forever.
A part of us craves the ‘good old days’ where children could run free, coming home for dinner as the sun sets and darkness blankets the sky. We fret, though. We fear our children getting hit by a car while on their bike. We are scared of stranger danger. There is trepidation about who to trust. The best part about Playgroup is that you are there with your child and you can relax as they play freely. Your Playgroup is community based and children are free to play in a safe environment.
During those first tender years in a child’s life, they learn as they explore and discover. Children experiment with trial and error through play. Their intellectual, emotional, social and physical abilities are all at work. Whether it is reading facial expressions, pretending to be the storybook characters or bonding with new friends, play is good for the health and wellbeing of children.
Local playgroup leader Jessica Quinn emphasises that it is not only for her children, but it is I vital part of her own life. Adult conversation! Advice! A cup of tea!
“I need playgroup because it gives me a healthy mental state. I do not know what I would do if I could not go to playgroup with my kids- I feel it most stimulating going to playgroup and managing it. Even doing crafts with the children, I create something from nothing. It gives me a sense of belonging and achievement. I love it!”
Article by Sinead Halliday