Play and learning blog

a reception age child creating a tower with wooden unit blocks

Eat, Sleep, Play, Learn: model for living

“Amongst the many uncertainties of the modern world, several indisputable global facts about the health, well-being and learning of young children are beginning to emerge,” write Pam Mundy and Sue Egersdorff, co-directors of International Early Years.

In a series of articles, Pam and Sue encourage all who care about children to help them first attain readiness for life, before concentrating on gaining readiness for school. Read the first article.

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a reception age boy mark making at a table

What is happening to fine motor development?

In recent years a growing number of children are “arriving at school lacking in basic fine motor skills,” writes Dr Marcy Guddemi. Like large motor development, fine motor skills develop progressively, beginning in the earliest years of childhood. Young children who spend too much time “swiping and tapping” electronic devices, instead of playing with manipulative toys or colouring with crayons, struggle with poor hand control and weak pencil grip in school.

This article is a call to action for educators and parents to return to the time-tested play materials of childhood – blocks, play dough, stringing beads, and crayons – to best prepare our children for school. Read it and share it!

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a two-year-old boy stacking outlast blocks

Physical learning and two-year-olds

Two-year-olds have a strong biological drive for experiences that develop their vestibular sense – they love to rock, swing, spin, twirl, tip, teeter, jiggle, wobble, slide, bounce, be upside down and otherwise get dizzy! They have an “insatiable appetite to explore and control their own body and it is the physical play experiences, environment and opportunities that support and motivate their physical learning,” write Julia Manning-Morton and Maggie Thorp. Read an excerpt from their book, Two-Year-Olds in Early Years Settings.

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two children telling stories together

Once upon a time…

“Stories are a powerful learning tool. Compelling research links the number of stories read to a child with their future success,” writes Kate Shelley.

“But there’s another side to stories that we don’t discuss as much: the amazing benefits of helping your children to become creative storytellers.” Find out more

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infant sitting in a browser box

Play through the eyes of the child

Crawl on the floor, hide behind a shelf, play peekaboo with a colleague or friend. Harken back to those days when you could sprawl, wriggle, stretch, build dens under tables, and giggle. Regain a child’s perspective, at least for a few moments.

“Early years practitioners would tend to agree with Froebel (1782-1852) that play is the child’s way of learning about and understanding the world around them,” write Karen McInnes and Nicola Birdsey. “Therefore, as practitioners, how can we fully understand the child’s world without seeing it through their eyes?” Read more.

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