Playing to learn

The sound of children laughing, singing and chattering fills the playground of the Steiner school kindergarten. This isn’t called recess; in this kindergarten, playing outdoors is a focussed class activity all year round.

According to the School’s kindergarten teacher, “play in our kindergarten is given priority; really everything else is wrapped around it. Play is practise for life, it is the child’s work and helps them develop physically, socially, and emotionally, it is a means of learning to live. When children play, they learn more than they ever could be formally taught.”

Playing to learn at the Steiner school.

And it isn’t just outdoors where play is encouraged. The walls inside the Kindergarten are adorned with baskets of odd wood bits, shells, cloths, all awaiting the child to imbue them with life. “I’ve witnessed small triangular off-cuts of wood, transformed into helicopters, diggers, wings, cars, houses anything you can possibly imagine and a lot more,” she said.

“Simple pieces of wood, paper, bamboo or material can be used to spark imaginative play. I’ve seen the children create intricate marble runs and enjoy just sitting back and watching the little scientists and engineers in action. The hum of business and the satisfaction emanating from these children tells me they have just what they need: simple unformed play things and time to explore.”

Research has proven the importance of play to the work and discoveries of scientists and inventors. To cultivate problem solving skills the development of imagination and creativity is essential and this is being increasingly recognised by early childhood educators.

“Imagination is valued highly and nurtured in all possible ways in the kindergarten,” she said. “For example, the simplicity of our play things allows children to create what they want the object to be today and by telling stories from memory we allow the child to create their inner pictures and to strengthen imagination.”

Enrolments for 2011 are open now. To learn more about the Steiner school kindergarten, or for an enrolment pack, please contact the school on [PHONE NUMBER].

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