Why Should Nursery Schools Focus on Learning through Play?


There has been enough evidence about the fact that play has many positive effects on a child's overall development. Play is an essential part of childhood and the children can explore and learn about their surrounding through play.

Too many schools are shifting focus from play based learning to push children towards early achievement. The major problem of this approach is that children often get bored and lose the interest towards studies. This approach also ignores the fact that children learn faster and quicker through play. In short, children need to learn through practical application of things; for instance instead of telling that ice is cold, you can place a cube of ice on their hand and let them feel the cold.

Difference between play-based learning and academic based learning

To understand the benefits of play based learning let's compare the two approaches:

  • Academic based learning - This approach focuses on academic or skills based programs that are taught by teachers. In this type of learning, the children seldom have any choice about what they want to learn or how they want to learn it. It is mostly routine-based and the teachers decide the activities for the children, which mostly include learning letters, colours, shapes and even practising handwriting.
  • Play based learning – This approach encourages the children to choose activities that interest them. The classroom is divided into various segments like cooking area, sensory play area, activity centre, etc. and the learning is mostly done through play. In play based schools, teachers act as facilitators of learning instead of direct instructors. The progress is evaluated through their participation in various activities.

Some characteristics of play based learning are:

  • Utilisation of indoor and outdoor areas to facilitate learning through play.
  • Provide numerous open-ended toys to encourage imagination
  • Encourage various kinds of activities
  • Focus on the child's interests and liking when designing an activity

Many researches have been performed to find out how beneficial play based learning can be and here is what they say:

  • Children learn better through play.
  • Ability to control impulses is very important for success in later life and this can only be developed through play based programs.
  • Children who are pushed to academic achievements have more behavioural problems compared to their peers.
  • Play based learning keeps children interested and motivated towards studying.

Play based learning help children learn negotiation with peers, cope with problems, listen to others, solve problems and empathise. Imaginative play is another very important form of play that develops the math skills, cognitive skills and language skills in children. So as parents, you must choose to enrol your children in schools that encourage play based learning rather than academics.

We live a highly competitive world, so we must prepare our children to become patient and teach them to tackle the problems of adulthood calmly and this can only be achieved through play based learning.