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The importance of play

Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity & physical, cognitive and emotional strength. Play is important to healthy brain development. It is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact in the world around them.

Self directed play

The idea behind Self-Directed Play is simply to allow children to direct their own play by setting up a flexible and safe environment where they can fully explore their potential through play. It is one of the most effective ways for children to strengthen and stretch their "learning muscle."

Children are continually constructing new knowledge based on how they choose to use and explore their environment and the toys or objects that they use and play with.

Self-directed play can be practised alone, in a mixed- age group setting, or with an adult who is listening and supporting by assisting with materials.

The children are given the time and space to play at their own rhythm and pace, following their own inner direction and interest. The atmosphere of the free-play area is "encouragement." This kind of setup allows children to construct knowledge by building on their previous understanding of how they used the materials yesterday combined with their understanding of how they are using them today.

Additionally, this kind of experience allows children to naturally develop creative problem-solving skills and buoyant positive attitudes towards approaching challenges. It also encourages children to engage themselves in their experiences through the force of their own will, rather than through the entertainment value of static, single-use toys and games.

Outside play

The outdoors is the very best place for pre-schoolers to practice and master emerging physical skills. It is in the outdoors that children can fully and freely experience motor skills like running, leaping, and jumping. It is also the most appropriate area for the practice of ball-handling skills, like throwing, catching, and striking. And children can perform other such manipulative skills as pushing a swing, pulling a trailer and lifting and carrying movable objects.

The outdoors has something more to offer than just physical benefits. Cognitive and social/emotional development are impacted, too. Outside, children are more likely to invent games. As they do, they're able to express themselves and learn about the world in their own way. They feel safe and in control, which promotes autonomy, decision-making, and organisational skills. Inventing rules for games (as preschoolers like to do) promotes an understanding of why rules are necessary. Although the children are only playing to have fun, they're learning

We can't underestimate the value of the aesthetic development promoted by being outside. Aesthetic awareness refers to a heightened sensitivity to the beauty around us. Because the natural world is filled with beautiful sights, sounds, and textures, it's the perfect resource for the development of aesthetics in young children.

Pre-schoolers learn much through their senses. Outside there are many different and wonderful things for them to see (animals, birds, and green leafy plants), to hear (the wind rustling through the leaves, birds singing), to smell fragrant flowers and the rain-soaked ground, to touch (a fuzzy caterpillar or the bark of a tree), and even to taste (a raindrop on the tongue, frosty ice off a leaf). Children who spend a lot of time acquiring their experiences through television and computers are using only two senses (hearing and sight), which can seriously affect their perceptual abilities.

Finally, what better place than the outdoors for children to be loud and messy and boisterous? Outside they can run and jump and yell, and expend some of the energy that is usually inappropriate indoors.


There's no doubt about it: Creativity is as natural and necessary for children as fresh air and sunshine! By exposing children to creative experiences, we give them the gift of a rich and memorable childhood while laying the foundation for a lifetime of creative expression – all topped off with a heaping helping of important learning skills.

Creativity focuses on the process of forming original ideas through exploration and discovery. In children, creativity develops from their experiences with the process, rather than concern for the finished product. Creativity is not to be confused with talent, skill, or intelligence. Creativity is not about doing something better than others, it is about thinking, exploring, discovering, and imagining.

Creativity is found in the obvious—art and music, but can also be found in science and play. Because we think of art, music, dance, and drama as examples of creative ideas, we may have forgotten that creative thought is found in all aspects of a growing child's life and can be learned from daily. Just look at how creativity shows itself when a scientist discovers a cure for a disease, how a business owner decides to increase sales

Providing the opportunity for creativity is as easy as allowing children to draw with crayons on blank paper, to bang a pot with a wooden spoon in time to music, to build an inviting reading area with blankets and cushions, or to hop and bop to a favourite children's recordings. Something as easy as drawing on a blank surface is surprisingly important. Research shows that children who draw frequently do better in reading and math and will shine at focusing on learning tasks. Choosing their own drawing materials empowers children and opens their eyes to the world around them.