Qualification: NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Educator
Unit: Unit 3.1: Understand the value of play in Early Years
Learning outcome: Understand inclusive play practice
Assessment criteria: Analyse how play supports the interests and abilities of children
The Early Years period is an incredibly important one for children, as their physical, cognitive and psychosocial development can be significantly supported by the provision of healthy play experiences.
Play is especially beneficial for young children as it allows them to use their imagination in creative ways, building critical thinking skills and problem-solving abilities. It also supports physical development through gross motor activities such as running, skipping and jumping.
Furthermore, it encourages the development of language skills by providing opportunities for children to express themselves verbally or non-verbally.
Most importantly, play provides an enjoyable and meaningful way for young children to explore their interests and passions as well as develop a sense of autonomy within a safe learning environment. For example, if practitioners know that a child is interested in football, they can tailor activities around this interest (e.g. playing football, marking out a football pitch in sand, painting a game of football etc.
Play activities allow children to extend their capabilities by participating in challenging and stimulating activities. To facilitate effective learning, practitioners must ensure that activities are set at the right level of difficulty for each individual child; if they are too easy, the child will become bored, and if they are too hard, the child can become frustrated.
Thus, practitioners can effectively use play to support the interests and abilities of children in Early Years settings by providing meaningful activities tailored to their individual needs. This will help children to develop a range of skills while they enjoy themselves in an engaging manner, setting them up for success in the future