Learn to Play. Play to Learn
PLAY (Promoting Life-skills through Activities among the Young)
There is power in play! We all know that children (youths and even adults) learn best when they are actively engaged and participating in the activities such as PLAY. Not only does PLAY develops children psychomotor skills, it also enhances their cognition and cultivates their character in the process. The key is to unlock great learning opportunities from the hands-on activities through reflections and discussions.
Active Learning is generally defined as any instructional method that places learners at the centre of the learning process. Learners are actively engaged in meaningful activities such as class discussions, debates and dramatization which lead to thinking what they have done.
Studies have shown that people can retain better and are able to engage in higher order thinking and discussion when they are learning actively.
Structured vs Unstructured Play
Structured Play has a set of rules with specific aim and it is usually guided by an adult. Unstructured Play is open ended with infinite options and it is usually determine by a child. There is value in engaging in both structured and unstructured play for children. Structured Play offers opportunities for adults to design purposeful learning for the children which can lead to specific desired outcomes.
Caught or Taught?
Are values best caught through role modelling and seizing “teachable moments” or taught through explicit explanations and carrying out discussions in a formal setting? There are time and space for both methods. Each has its strengths and can be harnessed to develop pupils’ character effectively. If activities can be organised to create opportunities for teachable moments to arise, educators can target specific areas of needs to address.
Experiential Learning (Kolb)
Building upon earlier work by John Dewey and Kurt Levin, American educational theorist David A. Kolb believes “learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience" (1984). The theory presents a cyclical model of learning, consisting of four stages shown below.
Time to really set aside time for our family. Time to take-5 from work, chores at home or sedentary-activities such as playing computer games, using digital devices and watching TV, and go out to PLAY with your children. Through the activities and interactions, our children will discover more of themselves and we as parents will learn more about our children. And these are excellent opportunities to talk to our children about and help them grow in their life-skills.