It’s no secret that we at Improv 2 Improve are major advocates of play. So it is always exciting to see the ever-increasing mountain of studies identifying the numerous benefits of play for young children. These benefits include increased joy, more pleasant classrooms and happier children — and so much more!
The evidence of play as a beneficiary to learning continues to increase and we are overjoyed. Greg McKeown author of Essentialism, The Disciplined Pursuit of Less says, “Play stimulates the parts of the brain involved in both careful, logical reasoning and carefree, unbound exploration.” Play not only boosts children’s moods; it boosts their ABILITY to learn, to absorb information and to be successful. This is why i2i promotes play as a partnership to learning. The following Hechinger Report identifies twenty-six studies that point to the importance of play for young children.
“What if one of the answers to reducing inequality and addressing mental health concerns among young children is as simple as providing more opportunities to play? A growing body of research and several experts are making the case for play to boost the well-being of young children as the pandemic drags on—even as concerns over lost learning time and the pressure to catch kids up grow stronger.
Play is so powerful, according to a recent report by the LEGO Foundation, that it can be used as a possible intervention to close achievement gaps between children ages 3 to 6. The report looked at 26 studies of play from 18 countries. It found that in disadvantaged communities, including those in Bangladesh, Rwanda and Ethiopia, children showed significantly greater learning gains in literacy, motor and social-emotional development when attending child care centers that used a mix of instruction and free and guided play. That’s compared to children in centers with fewer opportunities to play, especially in child-led activities, or that placed a greater emphasis on rote learning. This is important, the report’s authors noted, as it shows free and guided play opportunities are possible even in settings where resources may be scarce…”
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