Walk into any preschool classroom in North Carolina and you’ll likely be greeted with children playing together or interacting with early childhood educators. While many of us might hold the preconceived notion that children learn through worksheets or time spent at a desk, in preschool, the opposite is true.
The very act of playing provides children the freedom to use their imagination and explore as they wish. Historically, free play and exploration were how children learned to solve problems, develop their own interests, and make connections with each other.
As parents and caregivers, it can be tempting to underestimate the value of play. Keep reading for an in-depth look at what learning at play means for your child—and how you can help instill a love of play and learning at home.
Because the concept of play encompasses many different elements, it can be challenging to answer. At One Place, we think of play as child-initiated, child-directed, and open-ended. It focuses on the process rather than the product—such as goals or achievements.
Play is a critical tool for children to understand themselves and the world around them. Through play, children are impacted in numerous ways, including:
Creative Curriculum, the curriculum used by nearly all preschool programs in North Carolina, defines 10 core types of play and learning that are promoted in the classroom. We recommend clicking here to access additional resources and details about Creative Curriculum and how you can support your child with learning and play at home.
Open-ended questions and supportive interactions are one of the most effective opportunities to promote and facilitate healthy play at home. Consider the following questions when playing at home with your child:
If your child is currently enrolled in a preschool program in Onslow County and you’re interested in parenting classes or trainings, we’re here to help. One Place offers a number of trainings each month that are designed for both parents and early childhood educators. View the available offerings here.
If your child is not yet enrolled in preschool, we administer three preschool programs at no cost to eligible families in Onslow County: North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten for 4-year-olds, Three School for 3-year-olds, and Early Head Start for children 6-weeks to 3 years old.