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Why Use Child-Initiated Play in Early Years?

Do you remember that feeling as a child where you ‘just wanted to do it yourself!’ or that feeling where you ‘didn’t understand why on earth you were learning these things!’? Still to this day, we remember those feelings with clarity, however, we can now reflect on those thoughts/feelings and change that state of mind using our understanding of ‘Child-Initiated Play’. Let us explain. At School of Play, we believe in nurturing the natural curiosity and creativity of every child. Using a style of play that is child-initiated can empower children to take the lead in their learning journey, fostering independence, confidence, and a lifelong love for exploration. With Adult-Initiated Guidance as an initial starting point, we can begin an introduction to a new learning topic, sporting skill, or activity which will spark interest within the children’s minds. From here, we can then begin to allow the children to initiate their own ideas and ways of learning/creating, within groups or individually, to avoid the possibility of the children not enjoying the ‘standard’ or ‘chosen’ learning process that can sometimes feel repetitive or impractical through a child’s eyes. This style of play will result in feelings of independence, willingness to learn and pride regarding their learning. The feeling of ‘just wanting to do it yourself’ is catered to in a way that is beneficial for all, avoiding the feelings of frustration and inability to think for themselves. What does the approach involve?
  • Exploration and Discovery: Children naturally gravitate towards activities and objects that capture their curiosity. Whether it’s exploring nature, building with blocks, or pretending to be superheroes, they engage in activities that spark their interest.
  • Independence and Decision-Making: In child-initiated play, children have the freedom to make their own choices and decisions. They decide what to play, how to play, and whom to play with, empowering them to take ownership of their playtime.
  • Imagination and Creativity: Child-initiated play often involves imaginative scenarios and creative storytelling. Through pretend play, role-playing, and make-believe, children unleash their creativity and expand their imaginations.
  • Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking: As children encounter challenges and obstacles during play, they naturally develop problem-solving skills and critical thinking abilities. Whether it’s figuring out how to build a tower that won’t topple or resolving conflicts with playmates, they learn to adapt and find solutions.
  • Social Interaction and Communication: Child-initiated play provides opportunities for social interaction and collaboration with peers. Children negotiate roles, share ideas, and communicate with one another, developing essential social skills and building friendships.
  • Sensory and Motor Development: Many child-initiated play activities involve hands-on exploration and physical movement, which contribute to the development of fine and gross motor skills. Whether it’s digging in a sandbox, climbing on playground equipment, or manipulating art materials, children engage their senses and enhance their coordination.
  • Enjoyment and Fulfillment: Above all, child-initiated play is enjoyable and fulfilling for children. It allows them to express themselves, express their creativity, and experience joy and satisfaction in their accomplishments.
By incorporating child-initiated activities into your child’s daily routine, you’re not just providing entertainment; you’re laying the groundwork for a lifetime of learning and growth. Whether it’s learning a new sports skill, exploring nature, or engaging in imaginative play, every moment of child-initiated activity is an opportunity for discovery and development. Join us at School of Play as we celebrate the joy of child-initiated play and empower your child to become the architect of their own adventure. Learn more about the activities we provide where Child-Initiated Play thrives.   Learn more about Child-Initiated Play.

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