Kingsgate Kids (Part 3): What are the principles of high quality play?

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The value and principles of high quality play can be and have been widely debated. Rather than viewing play as a way of using excess energy it can also be viewed as rewarding, motivating and challenging while being used to meet the individuals needs or requirements to learn a new skill.

Through ‘Play’, children are learning at a level that has relevance to their understanding. As such play presents itself in many formats. Thus, there is no right or wrong way of learning.

Recognizing that ‘A Child’s Play’, is spontaneous is key to recognising how it supports holistic development. While many debates have been put forward it is widely accepted that ‘Children Playing’, is universal, enabling thought processes and subsequent life skills across all contexts to be developed. In conjunction to this ‘Play’, for any child is highly motivating, self-regulating and does not hold any boundaries for ongoing exploration and the acquisition of higher thinking skills.

Through play, children explore their world and learn to take responsibility for their own choices. Curiosity about the world, taking initiatives, problem solving and persistence are just a few approaches to learning that children develop through play. In other words, the ways they respond to lifelong learning.

In summary, High Quality Play is: –

⇒ Play is an intrinsic part of children’s learning and development.

⇒ Play has many possible, but no prescriptive, outcomes.

⇒ Play challenges children and offers them the chance to learn in breadth and depth.

⇒ Play draws on what children already know and can do and enables them to master what is new.

⇒ Play enables children to apply existing knowledge and to practise their skills

⇒ Play encourages children to communicate with others as they investigate or solve problems.

⇒  Play offers children opportunities to explore feelings and relationships, ideas, and materials, connections and consequences.

⇒ Play empowers children to make choices, to solve problems and to be independent in their learning.

⇒ Play enables children to express fears or relive anxious experiences in controlled and safe situations.

⇒ Play encourages children to struggle, to take risks and to become resilient as learners.

⇒ Play can be supported and extended but not interfered with by adults.

⇒ Play presents no barriers to children because of their language, cultures, abilities or gender.

Karen Downs, Deputy Head of School

Kingsgate International School





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