Before children can focus on the skills they need for school readiness they need to develop the necessary milestones that are essential for growth and development. Children should not be expected to skip developmental milestones that prepare them for academic readiness. It is important for adults to be focused on how young children view the world around them and how it contributes to their learning. For example, have you ever bought your child a new toy and watched their engagement, then suddenly, they notice a rubber band on the floor and instantly lose interest in what they were doing? Children are naturally curious, and anything they can manipulate with their hands can instantly challenge them. Think of all the possibilities to their play. Play-based learning stimulates curiosity, imagination, and discovery. It is the best way to help children grow and develop. The next time your child is playing, look closely at what they’re doing and help them build deeper understanding by implementing the following tips:
Ask your child open-ended questions, such as “Can you tell me about what you’re doing?”, “I can tell by all that laughing that you’re having fun, what is funny?”. Open-ended questions will lead to multiple answers that will help guide you to building new ideas with your child.
Help your child make connections in everyday experiences while playing. For example, children can help you sort laundry by color and/or item or they can make a game of setting the table while they count silverware, etc.
Limit screen time and allow your child more outdoor playtime.
“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” (Mr. Fred Rogers)