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Play-based Learning Critical in Early Education

Opportunity School is leading the way with a powerful approach to learning that is seeing a resurgence in early education programs across the country. According to Lesley Webb, Opportunity School's Program Quality Specialist, play-based learning incorporates different ways to play as an integral part of the learning process. These strategies can be used at home and at school. 

"Play-based learning allows children to make their own decisions and choices about how and what they play," explains Webb. "Play keeps children moving and helps them with hands-on experiences such as building with blocks, exploring different parts of the playground or classroom, while having fun." 

"Play is the way that children learn information. Their brains are wiring for developmental skills, cognitive skills like math and problem solving, language and literacy skills such as learning to talk, listen and read. Social-emotional skills are learned by playing with others, getting along with friends and interacting with their teachers."

Play-based learning is child-initiated and teacher-supported. While children lead the play activities, engaged Opportunity School teachers guide them, building on the child’s individual interests and knowledge, helping students move to the next level of their learning. The teacher's role is to motivate and encourage the children to learn through interactions that expand their thinking.

“Children naturally love to learn and play and when they are put in programs that are not play-based, they often struggle to enjoy learning, which is important for creating life-long learners.”

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