We’re excited to share a series of short educational films ‘Learning Through Play’ that showcase 20 activities that parents can do cheaply and easily at home with their early years children. The films are translated into Sylheti, Urdu, Polish and Somali and are part of our Schools with Roots project.
We developed the idea together with staff from Sandringham Primary School in Forest Gate in light of the challenges that we know many families have been experiencing during the corona virus lockdown. We hope these films can offer some suggestions to parents for fun, playful activities, that can easily be done at home with every day, household objects, and which will contribute significantly to their child’s wellbeing and educational development - during ‘lockdown’ or otherwise!
You can watch the films on our youtube channel here.
While the idea of play can be underestimated, particularly in our increasingly digital world, it’s actually a key way to prepare children to be creative, engaged, lifelong learners, as well as to communicate ideas and build relationships. It combines physical, mental and verbal engagement, developing language, creativity, and fine and gross motor skills.
With the UK education system detrimentally placing so much emphasis on formalised learning and testing from such a young age, making time and space for opportunities for unstructured play becomes vital for the developmental needs of young children. Children play to make sense of the world around them, to practice skills, try out possibilities, revise hypotheses and discover new challenges - all of which are important skills for life!
Different cultures and communities encourage children to play in different ways, and studies have shown that there are of course many effective approaches taken to child development across the world. Something which crops up across cultures, however, which we’ve highlighted in these films, is the importance of oral storytelling for developing literacy skills.
The importance of play in early years learning is a well-researched area of education, with advocates including Maria Montessori and more recently Paul Ramchandani, the world’s first professor of play, at the University of Cambridge.
We hope these films can be a useful resource for parents and families, for accessible and cost-effective fun that will hopefully contribute significantly to their child’s wellbeing and long-term educational development.