Play Based Learning has a Positive Impact on Child's Learning and Development
If children are given the freedom to explore, but with some gentle guidance, it can be very good for their education – perhaps in some cases better than direct instruction. The research, by academics at the University of Cambridge documented guided play’s impact on the learning of around 3,800 children aged three to eight. Guided play broadly refers to playful educational activities that, although gently steered by an adult, give children the freedom to explore a learning goal in their own way. The study found that this playful approach to learning can be just as effective as more traditional, teacher-led methods in developing key skills: including literacy, numeracy, social skills, and essential thinking skills known as executive functions. The findings also suggest that children may master some skills – notably in maths – more effectively through guided play than other methods. guided play may influence other characteristics which have a positive, knock-on effect on educational progress – enhancing, for example, children’s motivation, persistence, creativity, and confidence.
The new study is the first systematic attempt to examine the effects of guided play specifically, which is distinctive because it uses games or playful techniques to steer children towards specific learning goals, with support from a teacher or another adult using open-ended questions and prompts. This may, for example, involve creating imagination-based games which require children to read, write or use maths; or incorporating simple early learning skills – such as counting – into play. Such methods are common in pre-school education but are used less in primary teaching