Play and activity-based learning is the foundation of an effective preschool curriculum. Designed to promote overall development, play-based activities supplement creativity, imagination and exploration along with educational attainment in the early years.
However, not all play activities are carried out using standard criteria or engagement rules. Learning through play happens in two ways.
Structured Learning—where a child experiences activities that are designed using established methodologies and rely on instructions from an adult or a teacher.
Unstructured Learning—which removes the traditional learning style from children’s early education curriculum and relies on unconventional methods of teaching. This involves decision-making, independent thinking, use of practical skills and sensory play.
Why Unstructured Learning?
While advocates of traditional educational models—that revolve around teacher-directed learning—recommend structured learning for better impact, recent studies disagree. Current research suggests that unstructured learning—where a child is allowed to experience the activity using their own thought process as a guide—nurtures an affirmative connection to discovery and skill-learning in children.
Children who are unable to experience or don’t partake in independent activities are likely to have difficulty learning new things when they grow up or trying out innovative activities. Unstructured learning sets the tone for a positive experience so children approach curricular activities with joy instead of seeing it as a drill.
This is why you should allow unstructured learning at home as well.
It boosts creativity
As a parent, you’re likely to notice that when your child is working on an art project or doing homework—such as tracing alphabets—without having to follow instructions, they create new things. Instead of writing “A” like they’re supposed to, they might make a cat out of it or start coloring it.
Instead of considering it a bad thing, parents should acknowledge the creativity of the child and help them develop their own understanding—rather than forcing it and risk dealing with a tantrum.
It promotes independent thinking
When you let a child perform new activities through trial-and-error, it gives them the confidence to try out new ideas using critical thinking. A child who is trying to play the piano won’t get it right the first time or even by following instructions. However, when allowed to use their own conception of keys, notes and the tune, they’ll be able to construct a solution more effectively.
Unstructured learning in play can also be applied to academic learning as children reach school years. Academies such as Kids ‘R’ Kids offer a whole-child learning methodology, which encourages children to achieve developmental milestones based on readiness—making it a rewarding learning process.
If you want to know more about the academy and their daycare center—based in Orlando, Florida—visit here.