When you visit your children @Sandton Kids, it might look as though they’re just having fun – but through play we encourage them to learn and develop, and prepare them for formal schooling.
The @Sandton Kids team offers an early learning development curriculum called Play Learn Win, which is based on the NC Framework and ELDAS (Early Learning Developmental Areas).
What is Play Learn Win?
Play Learn Win was developed in 2015 as a play-based curriculum for the young learners of South Africa, based on best practice models from around the world. Because it’s based on developmentally appropriate fun activities, it’s incredibly popular – with kids, parents and teachers! The curriculum is well-researched and a favourite of many top pre-schools. It doesn’t contain worksheets, simply encourages children to explore and discover through a structured programme that still allows children the freedom to learn through play.
Why is play important?
For us, it’s important to remember that children learn through play – play is their daily job in the first few years of their lives, and they’re good at it! This developmental stage gets them ready for the next stage of life, putting in place the building blocks for the future. So before they learn to read, write and count, they must be developmentally prepared through play – and without this firm foundation, they’ll struggle to learn key skills later.
What do the activities look like?
Play develops a child holistically, focusing on these three fundamentals:
- Movement develops a child’s concentration span
- Movement develops the actual pathways in the brain, creating new connections
- Movement develops the core muscles that enable them to sit upright at a table through balance, coordination, muscle tone and strength
- Well-developed fine motor skills enable a child to write and these skills are built through activities like painting with different sized brushes, drawing with large and small wax crayons, building puzzles, moulding playdough, cutting and pasting, drawing with pencil crayons, tearing, playing with pegboards, lacing and threading, and drawing with jumbo or small chalk.
By the time the child starts school, their fingers will be strong enough to hold a pencil and their bodies will be able to cope with the physical task of sitting for an extended period.
- Play improves memory and stimulates brain growth.
- Free play and regular breaks ensure a better and longer attention span.
- When children play, they must often solve problems, and this stimulates their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
- Imaginary games or symbolic play teaches them to regulate their emotions and develop their reasoning skills.
- Mathematical skills are developed during play in many ways, like building a concept of numbers through playing with blocks.
- Both receptive and expressive language are developed and stimulated continuously while playing. Their auditory skills and ability to decipher sounds are developed, which lays the foundation for reading when the time is right.
Through play, social skills such as the below are practiced:
- Following Rules
- Learning to Share
- Consideration for Others
- Fairness and to make sure that everybody gets a turn
- Conflict Resolution
As you can see, play is incredibly important for your little one – after all, they only have 5 years to play before heading into the school system, so we encourage you to let them play, learn and win @Sandton Kids!