K-12 Spaces

Play-based Learning Can Set Your Child Up for Success


Sources: Natalie Robertson, Anne-Marie Morrissey, Elizabeth Rouse

Play-based Learning

A play-based teaching approach is child-initiated and teacher-supported. This means that children are encouraged to engage in exploration, experiment, discovery, and problem solving. These interactions are meant to expand their thinking levels.Learning in an imaginative way makes it more interesting for the children and easier to manage by teachers. An example of this would be teachers encouraging students to implement mathematical skills while playing with blocks.

Compared to Direct Instruction

Research has shown that there are many long-term benefits to play-based programs especially with kindergartners. It has been noted that play-based learning can be more efficient than traditional teacher-centered lessons. Children’s learning outcomes have been shown to be higher with play-based lessons compared to direct instructions. This is because direct instruction has been found to induce more stress, decrease motivation and cause behavioral problems.

Benefits to Play-based Learning

Involvement is a key factor in a child’s exploration. This allows them to be motivated to inquire more about the environment around them without feeling restrained. It also promotes concentration and focus by allowing them to find out what certain skills are rather than being told about them through a direct setting. Allowing play learning also gives children to the imagination and enthusiasm that is normally taken from them. These social interactions put them ahead of other students who were not given the opportunity to work well with others. Mixing academia with play gives children the ambition to pursue their talents. Studies have also shown that this type of learning has increased a child’s vocabulary, literacy skills and communication. While direct instruction has it’s place and purpose, play-based learning is benefiting young children in their future education. Thus, supporting better development and skills.

Alisa Verratti