Play is a freely chosen and personally directed behaviour that actively engages children. It is very important that early years practitioners have a good grasp on this subject as the developmental usefulness of play for a child is extremely significant. For children, play provides them with the necessary skills to develop: socially, emotionally, physically and creatively. Bruce (2004) explores the fact that play is a valuable tool for children to discover their environment and to learn about why things happen using all of their senses both indoors and outdoors. The hypothesis that will be discussed throughout this essay is how play is important in early development and learning and how it serves both the child’s individual needs and the
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However, when a child’s surrounding environment lacks proper stimuli, boredom is created and consequently it is important to maintain equilibrium of physical play and role play. Moreover, it can be seen that an active adult role is vital in early development and learning within early years settings as it prepares them to progress further into nursery and primary school settings, as well as for future adult roles.
The historical play pioneers need to be considered in order to understand the foundations of play in learning and development. Freidrich Froebel suggested that the significance of educative play in young children’s development as it helps to absorb knowledge and to develop imagination and language. He founded a child centred approach and stressed active learning through a ‘kindergarten scheme.’ This scheme obviously had a huge effect on childcare as it sought to create an educational environment that involves indoor and outdoor play that included direct use of appropriate materials. Children were introduced to carefully sequenced materials called ‘gifts.’ These were six sets of playthings that formed a sequence which gave children the opportunity to play with objects which were specifically designed for learning. This shows how he saw child development as a whole and argued that children need to develop and integrate all activities through play.