According to Abbott (1994), it is not all types of play which will be beneficial to the child in terms of their early childhood development. Structured play however, as Abbot (1994) says, is able to help the child to analyse situations, investigate various materials and elements and come up with their own conclusions about the world around them. This process is very helpful to the child as it helps the child’s mental faculties to develop and in a positive way and also helps the child to interact with the world around her in a way that will increase her skills and her thinking processes Abbott (1994). In this regard, play becomes an essential part of learning and without it the child may have to take much longer before they are able to assimilate the world around them. As Abbott (1994) warns, play must be designed with the main intentions to help the child to learn rather than just having fun.
According to Bruce (1996), children and adults have a lot in common with regard to how they learn. These commonalities include issues such as the learning from firsthand experience, learning through games and rules and representing their experiences through symbols such as music, drawings, drama etc. However, unlike adults, children only make sense of their experiences and what they learn through play (Bruce, 1996). This is why it is absolutely necessary for adults and especially early childhood teachers to be able to link play to the curriculum. Once they learn about this, it becomes very necessary to be able to help the child to link what she learns in theory and to the real world. In other words, to a child, the play section is like the laboratory for a high school student where they go to make sense of the theories they learn in school. The teacher therefore has to ensure that this “laboratory” is well equipped for the child to be able to explore as much as ...
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