Learning Through Play

Ingredients of my play based room - this is expanded on in my short book The Power of Play.

**An excerpt from the book

Over time my new entrant room has evolved into a play-based classroom, number agency fits beautifully into this context.  If you have ever observed a child ‘playing’ without gadgets, without all the bells and whistles that today’s society offers them, you will have noticed the power of their imagination.  They need no equipment to make a game; in their mind they can hold a world that they are imagining. A child’s imagination is so strong that they can share this world, agree on its details and then play within it. 
As a child I remember playing, all on my own, but not alone. I created characters around me that I could talk to fight with and against, explore worlds with, and embark on great journeys with.  Books like The Faraway Tree and The Wishing Chair by Enid Blyton helped my imagination along.  I would imagine my swing could take me to imagined worlds; worlds I would often go to, each with their own specific characters, each world perfectly cemented in my mind for my next adventure there.  This shows the power of a child’s mind; children can interact in several different imagined worlds, while knowing it is imagined, but pretending it is real.  How amazing is that!
Sadly with the advent of technology (and I acknowledge I am a big user of that same technology), we don’t witness or allow children the opportunity to play in this way anymore.  But they still have the ability to do so; take away the gadgets for a little while and watch the power of imagination come to the fore!  In fact we have just gone device-free in our new entrant room and the result has been outstanding.  The children are learning to play together, to create and imagine, to share and to talk to each other in ways that never happened when we had devices in the room.  We still use devices to create and communicate our learning, but they are not freely available to consume in the classroom.
This is what I wanted to tap into in my classroom; to bring imaginary play back in a big way to enhance their learning in mathematics.  There are other ways I have brought play back into my classroom, but in this book I want to focus on maths. 

I believe that by learning through play children get a number of crucial benefits that assist their cognitive and social development.  

I also have a play-based learning book called the Power of Play.  This can be purchased here.

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