“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” Mr. Rogers
But it’s important to remember that in early childhood learning is really all about play! When providing a Tot School experience there will be time for both purposeful and free play. Let’s take a minute to understand the difference.
- Involves some planning or set up
- Set out materials for a certain skill or concept
- Use what your child knows and says to encourage conversation while playing
- Usually more focused on cognitive and language development
- Play is child-led in an environment that allows free and safe exploration of material
- Requires little to no adult interaction and can be done independently
- All developmental areas can be included in materials for free play and rotated to encourage engagement
Any early childhood educator understands that there is no such thing as “just playing.” There are so many ways to play! And with the right environment, open-ended materials and a little imagination children’s minds will naturally do the learning.
And now with an understanding of how to get started with Tot School the value of both purposeful and free play will become even more apparent. Now you are really ready to begin your Tot School experience.