When the subject of their child’s education comes up, most parents envision the classroom as the primary learning environment. But while the classroom is indeed a key venue for a child’s learning experiences, an equally important place to pick up on life’s greatest lessons—especially for preschool-aged children—is the playground.
Even before your child learns to read, count, or speak in full sentences, they will be able to widen their perception of the world around them, hone physical and mental skills, develop emotional intelligence, and imbibe values that they will end up practicing their whole lives. To illustrate just how important playtime is for early childhood Singapore learners, here’s a list of six things your child will learn on the playground.
How to Be Curious
Curiosity and wonderment are among the most important drivers for learning, and they can be cultivated at a very early age. In an environment like the playground—which is both as familiar as home, but distant enough from it—a preschooler can begin to ask questions about the world and to imagine things a little differently every day. What sight awaits them at the top of a slide? How fast can they go on the merry-go-round? What scenario can they imagine for themselves in the playground’s playhouse? Make sure that your child can indulge their whimsy while you’re out on the playground with them and getting some fresh air.
How to Use Their Senses
The five senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste are vital to learning because they help a child process information about their environment and determine how they should respond to their circumstances. Kids engage multiple senses when they play, like when they pull themselves up on monkey bars or when they follow your instructions for when to dangle their feet on the seesaw. Given how much space the playground encompasses, plus the variety of stimuli it makes available to your child, it is the ideal place to develop their senses. That, in turn, will allow them to develop their fine motor skills and their decision-making skills for new situations. Let your child have a healthy dose of sensory play in their school or neighborhood playground whenever you’re presented with the opportunity.
How to Interact with Other Kids
Your child is also likeliest to begin a lot of their first friendships by the slide, swings, or jungle gym. Playtime on the playground will teach them that they coexist with others, and that they need to communicate and be sensitive to other children’s needs so that everyone can have fun. Let your child make new friends on the playground and to partake in play activities that involve other kids, like see-sawing or tic-tac-toe playground puzzles. In addition, encourage them to practice good manners, to wait their turn, to observe the personal space of other children, and to keep others from getting hurt while playing.
What Their Limits Are
One abstract concept that a child can learn for themselves during playtime on the playground is where their limitations lie. This can be physical in nature, such as how fast they can run or how high they can swing. Children need to be able to conceptualize how far they can go at any given moment without overexerting themselves or getting injured. Parents play key roles in letting this happen safely; don’t forget to watch your child whenever they’re testing their personal limits and intervene when you have to.
What Challenges They Can Overcome
Conversely, it’s on the playground where a child can learn what they’re capable of. The wonderful thing about visiting the playground throughout your child’s growth milestones is seeing them overcome little challenges and grow stronger, faster, and more capable every day. Your child will also delight in discovering this for themselves. Learning that they can climb a little higher on the playground’s climbing wall or push their feet a little harder on the swing will be extremely motivating to them, and this will make them hungry to learn and to increase their capabilities.
How Beautiful Nature Is
Lastly, the playground’s outdoor environment will be an excellent place for your preschooler to learn basic lessons about nature. They can observe the greenery and wildlife around them and take in just how beautiful and complex the natural world is. For every trip you make to the playground, don’t forget to point out your natural surroundings to your child. Share the simple beauty of leaves rustling in the wind or a butterfly landing on a flower, and help your child understand the importance of taking care of Mother Earth.
As a parent, it’s good to be supportive and engaged about your child’s playtime, but also respectful of your child’s budding independence. Supervise them so that they’ll be safe and so that they interact well with others, but don’t step in too much during their playtime and let them make decisions about how to play on their own.
The playground is where your child will learn some important lessons before primary school begins. Make the play days count and take them there as often as you’re able!