Preschool Insider's Story

Hi! I am Ms. Veronn, an early childhood educator who is passionate about young children and their lives. Read my blog and you will be in awe. I'll update you with the current trend in Singapore preschool that every parent and teacher is dying to know! You will love me.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Play = Child's Work?

It's not cheap to send our children to childcare centres nowadays. Depending on the location, rental and teachers' qualification, we can pay as low as about $400 to $1600 per month.*(For working mums, MCYS subsidizes $300; for non working mums, the subsidy will be $150.) No matter how much we are paying, ultimately we send our children to school to hope that they learn something in return.

Typical Daily Conversation
Mum: Boy, tell mummy what did you learn in school today.
Boy: I don't know... nothing.
Mum: You mean you learn nothing in school at all??? (Getting really concern!) Did not do any work???(Usually it means worksheets or any writings done on papers.)
Boy: I don't know... just play... everyday in school I'll just play... 

Sounds all too familiar?? I can hear many loud yeses to that!

Many parents highlight to me about their concerns regarding child's play... Is it too much play for the day in school? The child could be jolly well playing at home without costing a single cent! Where are all the worksheets? We want to see proven work!

In this post, I will state explicitly how play plays a major role in your child's development and PLAY IS YOUR CHILD'S WORK. 

1. Play helps to develop your child socially. 
Children are not born to know how to share, take turns, be gentle with others and possessing a set of great manners like saying "please" and "thank you". All these social skills are acquired when they play with one another. Most importantly, children learn to make friends and keep them. I believe that there are people whom we know lead lonely lives without an entourage of close friends for support. How sad, isn't it?

Have you recently succeeded in a negotiation in your boardroom? This 3 year old boy did! In this picture, he made a deal by exchanging individual pots of paint colour with his friend through his child-like negotiation - "I want white. You take red ok? I give you white later." Play enhances your child's social intelligence for success when he grows up. 

2. Play helps to develop your child emotionally.
Ever had a bad day? What do you do when you are stressed out at work? Head to the gym? Treat yourself to a shopping therapy at MiuMiu, Gucci, Coach or Prada? Young children have their bad days too. Once I was just watching a group of kids playing at the playground... and they looked so carefree. Ahhh... how I wish I was a child... no worries that an adult would face... But as a child, I remember I have many worries too!

Play helps to ease my worries. When I was young, I am worried that I can never do well in studies. So I pretended to be a teacher, teach my imaginary group of children and gave them lots of stars. I am worried that I will never be pretty enough. So I played with make up toys, hair accessories and wear my youngest auntie's high heels. Now that I am an adult, my play becomes different... in the form of shopping, KTV, watching korean drama serials, foot massage and eating chocolates!

Play is children's emotional outlet to express their joy, frustration, excitement and many other feelings.

3. Play helps to develop your child physically. 
Well, you and I know that we need to exercise in order to keep ourselves healthy. Nonetheless, obese children are everywhere on the streets. According to Ministry of Defense Singapore website, 12% of children are obese! Call me a health freak, but I can't imagine my child growing up carrying excess fats on his/her body, which ultimately, they will develop low self esteem in their teens and having serious illnesses like heart disease when they grow old! Yet, through play, children learn to develop their muscles and body coordination skills. They learn the importance of keeping oneself fit while having fun!

The child did a forward roll on the wedge! His body awareness is enhanced as well as his self-confidence! 

Just by chasing after the toy, this baby develops her gross motor skill; problem solving - to get the toy, I need to crawl; Language development - Mama says "Toy!" (Word of the day); Spatial awareness - crawling without bumping into furniture; Visual discrimination - the toy is different from other toys; and Size and Shape Discrimination. 

By the way,
this little cute baby is me! 
My mama says that that was my favourite toy when I was young! 

4. Play helps to develop your child academically. 
Yes, you read it right and your eyes did not play any tricks on you. Play enhances your child's cognitive development. Below the age of 6, it is crucial that children thrive in their symbolic thinking. A piece of toy block can become a telephone. Some bits and pieces of collage materials pasted become snowflakes. Legos when built, it becomes a ship. Why?

Because in primary school, your child is going to learn some of these math symbols -

+   -  /  X   =  [     ]  {    }  %  $ 
Aren't you glad that the foundation of symbolic thinking is laid since young through play?

Another example... What about matching skill?

This child engages in real life, hands-on matching experience. Decide for yourself which is more beneficial!

What about writing? Before a child can hold the pencil to write, he needs to develop in his fine motor skill. Writing can be made fun when we think out of the box to plan for activities for our young ones. They need not be expensive at all!

Playing dough helps to strengthen child's hands muscle, which ultimately enhances good handwriting skill during schooling years.

Writing a letter to MacDonald

"Dear Macdonald I want a big toys. Ice cram." Child uses phonological sounds to create invented spelling "ice cram", which means "ice cream'!

After reading my post, I hope that parents and teachers realize how important play is to a child's development. Stop giving endless and pointless worksheets so that children can sit still and do their work quietly while we can have some peace to our ears.

In addition, your child will not be able to come back home and tell you, "Mama, I learn to share and be gentle with others. Today, I also used letter sounds to spell the word när'ku-lep"sē... it goes n-a-r-c-o-l-e-p-s-y, which means falling into deep sleep when teachers and you kept asking me to do worksheets." 

All children deserve the rights to play. Play neither is their rewards, nor is it taken away as punishment. May all the so called kindergarten worksheets be burn into ashes and all the little children say, "HOORAY!"

*All photos of children are used with permission. 


Gina said...

Veronn, I'm so proud of you! Keep blogging. =) Keep that Fiesty Educator's Spirit going.

Miss Veronn said...

Thanks gina! You have always been a dear mentor to me in my heart!

christine said...

veron i love your post! yay for play! (:

grace.tan said...

ahhaha burn all the worksheets huh~

Sheryl02 said...

Wow!!! Great sharing! Love your style of writing!

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ashish mahajan said...

Thanks for sharing Interesting post.Great job!! You have a nice blog for Preschool . I will be back alot Good luck with all you do! Pre-School education

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