“How will my child be prepared for school if all he does is play?”
This is a fair and common question that can often be difficult to answer. It isn’t because we, as teachers, don’t know the answer–but to sum up the value of play in the learning process in one short answer is not easy to do!
Learning through play is not about children wondering aimlessly around a room and dumping baskets and throwing blocks. Instead, learning through play takes a carefully prepared environment that invites young children to explore, examine, question, predict, test, investigate, trial, error and manipulate.
Through play, learning is different for every child because every child is learning at his own pace, learning in his own style, and guided by his own interests.
The best way to evaluate the power of play in any classroom is to observe children at play, and then reflect how their play is facilitating and empowering them to reach desired learning goals and outcomes.