Instinctively all early childhood education teachers know that play is an essential part of young kids’ lives, and that being capable to play, both alone and with others, is a hallmark of kids’ healthy development. We also know that play improves kids’ physical, social/emotional, and creative growth, and we daily appraise this growth by observing kids at play.
The Role of Play in Kids’ Cognitive Development
By taking a closer look at kids’ play, we see that it does more than arouse physical, social-emotional, and creative development. Play is also the primary means by which kids discover the world, examine its properties, and build an understanding about how the world works. Think about a small group of kids playing in the block area, building with wooden unit blocks. They begin by trying to pile different sizes and shapes of unit blocks on top of one another.
How Play Meets Learning Objectives and Goals suggested by Nursery Teacher Training Course
Through this play, kids energetically pose problems, discover solutions, and develop understandings of real world concepts of form and function. By comparing and contrasting information gained from each new experience to what they already know, they are enthusiastically constructing their knowledge of the way the world works.
Building a Curriculum Based on Kids’ Play
The teacher can take benefit of the kids’ high curiosity and engagement in the block play by planning a whole curriculum unit around the topic of “Structures” and integrating her standards-based goals and objectives for kids’ learning into well-planned building play experiences. In order to do this the teacher:
• Sets up the surroundings to inspire building play;
• Provides drawing and writing materials for documentation of building play and tangible materials for kids to use in making three-dimensional representations of their buildings;
• Creates time in the daily schedule for discussion and reflection on shared and individual building; and
• Uses teaching strategies that help kids imitate on their building and think more intensely about the science involved.
Setting up the Environment to Stimulate Play
The teacher sets up the surroundings to rouse building play by posting pictures of different types of buildings both familiar and unfamiliar to the kids; posting kids’ drawings and teacher’s photographs of their own buildings; and supplying a variety creative writing and factual books on the topic of building. These will all serve to peak kids’ interest in building and incite discussions about different forms and functions of buildings. By creating an environment that invites kids to build, the teacher will also get more kids spend in the building play, and will be able to individualize for kids’ needs and wellbeing within the framework of a group topic.
Documentation of Play Experiences
a camera is a priceless tool for documentation of kids’ building play since the photographs can be used in a diversity of ways. They can be used as props during group planning to motivate language and introduce building language at a variety of levels like top, bottom, door, window, foundation, roof, and scaffold; as well as providing a written record of the many and a variety of structures that kids build over time. This ongoing viewpoint allows kids to evaluate and contrast building play experiences from different days and among different groups of kids.
Time for Discussion and Reflection on Play Experiences
Short periods of time set-aside during the day for kids to come together are regularly built into the preschool schedule. In a play-based program some of this time will be needed for individual kids and small groups to share with the rest of the class what building play they have been occupied in, to share successes and challenges, and to ask ideas from one another for dealing with building snafus. This is a good time for the teacher to share photographs, drawings, or even tangible materials so that kids have visual props for relating their experiences or can even show the aspects of the building play they are describing vocally.
Teaching Strategies in a Play-based Curriculum by Montessori course
In order to focus on precise goals and objectives throughout the domains and to maximize standards-based learning, the teacher will be a lively, engaged member in all building play. While kids are building, she will watch, support, and extend their play by asking open-ended questions related to the concepts being discovered. The teacher will be the main documenter of kids’ discoveries, successes, and challenges and will use this documentation in a number of ways to remind kids of previous building experiences for comparing and contrasting different play incidents or for guiding group discussions. The teacher will also be able to use her comments as a base for individualizing building experiences for kids at different developmental levels and for assessing each kid’s progress in the areas throughout the unit.

Author's Bio: 

Lizzie Milan holds Master’s in Psychology Degree. She was working as supervisor in teachers training institute.
Currently, she is working as course co-ordinator for diploma in early childhood education (ecce) & nursery teacher training (ntt) courses since last 20 years