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  • Writer's pictureNurture Infant House Tampines

Play Is The Work of the Child

Maria Montessori advocated that as parents we should respect the child's play as their work. Play is important work in early childhood. Children learn and enjoy more through play. Play helps children learn important skills and prepare them for the world.





Early childhood offers a critical window of opportunity to shape the trajectory of a child’s holistic development and build a foundation for their future. Play activities engaged in by children both stimulate and influence the pattern and connections made between the nerve cells. This process influences the development of fine and gross motor skills, language, socialisation, personal awareness, emotional well-being, creativity, problem-solving and learning ability.


Psst…Look at what Genius Albert Einstein says. Don’t play play with Play!


Education and society have changed over the years. But human learning has not changed much. Let's say you bought your favourite and latest version of television. The moment you receive it, guess what the kids are more interested in? <See answer at the end of the article>


Similarly for adults, what do you do if your latest brand of handphone has arrived. Definitely we don't go for what our children go for. LOL. We will make sure we know how to navigate it. Some may read the manual while many play with and around it so that we can get out the best of it.


Play is so basic to human beings. Similarly, nothing is as natural as a child at play. Infants begin to engage in play with their parents and the world around them. Left alone, young children will enter into the imaginary play, inventing characters and stories. With peers, children will instinctively move into activities.


Unfortunately, the play experience for today’s child is often quite different from that of their parents. With the advent of technology and the internet, children are spending much of their time being passively entertained by or minimally interacting via a keyboard, control pad or electronic device. Today’ toys are more often structured by onboard computers that dictate the play experience. This robs children from the unstructured play with other kids as well as individual playtime spent in creative play.


I am sure that parents will be convinced after reading the benefits that play can reap. Hopefully, they help to strike a good balance of purposeful and fun play for their children.


Benefits of active play


Play boosts creativity


Children create their own world they are in and can master. In their imagined worlds, they can be the mummies or daddies that decide what they will play or do to the toys. They tend to imitate adults by playing adult or imaginary roles. This helps them to practise courage, overcome fears and problem-solving abilities.


Creative play gives children a chance to express themselves before they develop a way to fully do so verbally. During the play, a child is developing the many different functions that are fundamental for brain development. Play helps to build the relations between neurons, which improve their memory. It enhances the connection between right and left brains. In order to get as many possible pathways and join the dots..I mean the neurons, repeated plays ensure that they use already existing knowledge and come up with new possibilities. Such is the beauty of creativity through play!


Play enhances intellectual development


Play builds executive function skills, content knowledge, and creative thinking. It is wise not to interfere in your children’s play. They are actually working hard on their intellectual abilities.


Young children learn how things fit together through play. The relational experience through their senses, encourages exploration and curiosity. All these skills lay the foundation of intellectual development and cognitive processing.


Play develops children’s interests


Regardless of structured activities or self-play, studies show that children will explore and discover their own areas of interest. You may think that they are too young to know what they want. In reality, children can learn a lot about themselves at an early age.


Play promotes healthy development and critical thinking skills. It reinforces memory, helps children understand cause and effect. It helps children explore the world (own and outside) and their role in them.


Play builds confidence and resilience


Trying new activities helps children build confidence and emotional resilience. The tower that they are building may not be perfectly stacked but the experience and confidence they had matters. Children by nature learn quickly through play. They are confident little beings that come up with their own ideas, keep trying till they abort the play themselves.


Thus play offers children opportunities to build the characteristics that are closely associated with high levels of resilience. Through play, children are constructing an identity – who they are, what they know and what their joys and fears are.


Play fosters social, emotional and physical development


Children playing in groups enables them to work in groups, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts and to learn self-advocacy skills. With good facilitation and encouragement from adults, playing with peers enables them to learn how to self-regulate their emotions and process their feelings.


Socially, playing with others through social cues, listening, and taking another person’s perspective, they slowly develop empathy. Social play requires children to learn, negotiate and reach compromises.


Emotionally, under social and/or guided play, children learn self-regulation as they follow rules set for them, pay attention while experiencing feelings such as anticipation or frustration. Play also teaches children how to accept and change their own rules, and how to decide when to lead and when to follow.


Physically, your children who engage in active play through outdoor games (e.g. clearing monkey bars or playing the see-saw) or moving around indoor, help them develop strength, muscle control, coordination and reflexes.



Final Thoughts


With all the benefits, the power of play is not an understatement. Parents, caregivers or teachers in school can help to unlock the power of play for the children! While play may be the work of children, the work does not get done single-handedly. Positive play experiences are created when adults perform the supporting role in their child’s play. When adults support the children by being present and engaged, the latter will have more learning opportunities to help stretch and grow their experiences.


Play is the work of the child. Parents’ role is to ensure children are active players, given the opportunity to make choices and put actions to mastery level. Parents should provide a wide variety of experience (such as art, music, language, science, math, social relations) in the course of play. All these help the child’s development of a more integrated brain that links sensorimotor, cognitive and social-emotional experiences that provides an ideal setting for brain development.


Play should be purposeful. It can be mere painting, stacking blocks, folding napkins or feeding a pet. Whatever form of play the children choose, they are fulfilling their inner needs.


Play should be fun and serious. As parents, we should refrain from labelling work as ‘the serious stuff’ and play as the ‘frivolous stuff’. This distinction does not exist in the child’s world. It is the purposeful self-directed play by the children that is important in their development.


In a nutshell: PLAY = JOY = LEARNING



<Answer: The Box. In a child's perspective, a box is an interesting toy for play and exploration. He or she may start move it around, climb in and out of it, etc. depending on his/her imagination.>



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Genesis Childcare 1989, one of the best Tampines Preschool and a good childcare in Tampines, advocates that every child is unique and precious who needs to be loved and cherished. In our Tampines childcare (Tampines Central), we have developed a curriculum which provides a bilingual learning experience, helps the children to learn the necessary skills and knowledge needed to help them successfully transit to Primary School with ease.


As one of the best childcare centre in Tampines since 1989, we are committed to nurturing our early learners holistically through various learning areas and positive learning dispositions. In our Tampines Preschool, we place a strong emphasis on the way our teachers facilitate and interact with the children.


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Genesis Childcare 1989 (Playgroup to Kindergarten 2)

Blk 433 Tampines Street 43 #01-63/65 S(520433)



Nurture Infant House (2 to 18 months Infants)

Blk 433 Tampines Street 43 #01-61 S(520433)



Opening hours: Monday to Friday (7am to 7pm) & Saturday (7am to 2pm)


Public Bus services: 8 / 21 / 28 / 29 / 293

Whatsapp: wa.me/6596664141


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