The advantages of play-based English lessons in early childhood
Learning through play is supported by science and experts. But what is it about play that makes it so important?
There is evidence that children actually learn while they play. Experiencing and exploring, thinking and solving problems, using language to express feelings, wishes and thoughts all occur during play, which influence and advance children’s brains in their development. Play-based learning leads to greater social, emotional, and academic success.
Psychologist David Elkind stated that “play is not only our creative drive; it’s a fundamental mode of learning.” Play aligns with each child’s unique learning style and capitalizes on his or her innate curiosity and creativity. When children are given challenging and dynamic, play-based learning opportunities, their language skills grow and develop naturally.
Children who engage in quality play experiences are more likely to have well-developed memory skills, language development, and are able to regulate their behaviour, leading to enhanced school adjustment and academic learning (Bodrova & Leong, 2005).
For some it may appear that more learning is done when teachers are “teaching” things to students by giving them explanations and practice exercises. However, research shows that this kind of learning does not give lasting knowledge to children under age 9. Play, on the other hand, opens opportunities for children to construct knowledge according to their own unique abilities and needs allowing them to build a stronger foundation in their English skills.
How can quality play-based learning support foreign language learning in early childhood?
Every child is unique. Language programmes that are built around the needs and abilities of a young learner are able to provide them with quality learning time in the form of play by giving opportunities for the child to:
practice spoken English which originates of genuine needs for communication
use new words in several different context
have spontaneous conversations
observe and pick up grammar structures which will get coded in their minds
copy the pronunciation of their teacher
Both free play and guided play offer tremendous benefits to a child who starts learning English as a second language in early childhood. Play is fun and motivating, which encourages children to pick up English just to be able to participate in the play. With guided, teacher-led play, children still experience the joy of the games, but with the additional benefits of progressing toward a specific learning goal.
While your child is seemingly only playing during his or her English lessons, he is actually developing important speech and language skills as well as improving his listening comprehension.
During play time, children learn to work with English words and build English sentences. Playing with shapes and colours, counting and naming toys, using illustrations in books to support comprehension, physical play – all are examples of the important learning that is happening during both free and guided play time during a play-based English lesson.
One of the most important benefits of play-based lessons is the development of confidence in even the youngest child. Children naturally have no fear of a foreign language, but with the addition of introducing English as a second language through play-based lessons, we can achieve an irreplaceable result: your child will be confident to use his language skills and converse in English. This ability will open the gates of further language development as your child is growing up.
Choose an English language learning programme for your child
that puts play first!
Play brings active, engaging, meaningful, and socially interactive language to your child.
If you’re looking for an English learning programme that understands the importance of learning languages through play, choose KnowledgePond Education – the pioneer private institution providing high quality online play-based English lessons to children aged 2 to 12 worldwide.
Want to learn more? Call +44 7394 074719 and arrange a free consultation with one of our educational experts or ask questions about how KnowledgePond teaches English online to young learners through play-based sessions.
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