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What are the Children Learning through their Play?

Date: February 16, 2018 Author: hpelc Categories: Advocacy Blogs, Centre Philosophy Blogs, Educators Blogs, Parenting Blogs, Reflection Blogs

What are the children learning through their play?

             By Moniqui McAuley


Play. It is one of the most common words or action we use when we think about young children, talk about young children, suggest the children do and it is also one of the most commonly debated topics about young children. How much time to play should they have? Are they learning when they are playing and if so, what are they learning?


In numerous countries around the world, educators, academics and adults are increasing the amount of time young children have to play. For children aged 0-5 years, play should be the primary medium for learning. By having uninterrupted time to play, young children are able to make meaning of their world around them. If we are tuned in and engage with the youngest of children, right from the Nursery, we can see their development occur in front of us. This is pretty special and as early childhood educators, we are really lucky to witness these incredible moments and we are thankful that we have the opportunity to share these moments with the children.


In the Nursery room this year, we are unpacking Schema theory, which is described as being a fancy word for urges as the children are forming connections in their brains and these are often uncontrollable. The schema are broken down to: transporting; transforming; trajectory; rotation; enclosure/enveloping; connecting/disconnecting and positioning. As we play and engage with the children, we can see the children working on these different elements of schema, which are often worked on for long periods of time. Schema ties in with loose parts play really nicely, allowing children the use of open-ended resources to work on any of these urges that they have without the toy prescribing what should be done.