Play is essential to the program at
All Souls School. There are many kinds of play the children engage in
throughout their day at school. Play is necessary for the development of
intellect, physical competence, and social skills.
Due to the age of the children play is considered work in the classroom. As children explore their
world through play, they are engaged in activities that increase their
intellects and help them form theories about how the world works. Through the
repeated interaction with materials in the classroom such as sand, clay, water,
and blocks, the children are learning about their specific properties and
gaining skills by practicing the various ways of controlling their mediums.
This leads to constructive play where children use objects to make something
such as a sand castle, a colorful painting, or a ball of play dough.
When children use the materials to
symbolically represent ideas, they are thinking abstractly and forming the
skills needed for higher-level abstract thinking.
For example, when children
use a block to represent a phone, they are beginning to understand that symbols
can represent ideas in a similar way that letters represent sounds when
learning to read. They are taking steps toward the abstract from reality and
engaging in non-literal thinking.
When engaged in play the children
are learning social skills that will assimilate as they grow and when
interacting with people in the future. They learn to negotiate, to plan ahead, to
problem solve, to establish and play by rules, to respect the contributions of
others and to stand up for their own ideas. They learn to understand how others
are feeling and to respond to the signals that their playmates send. During
play children develop a sense of belonging and experience the joys of
Play is the best way for young
children to develop their gross and fine motor skills. Opportunities abound in
the classroom for the children to develop their muscles, engage their senses,
and challenge their coordination. On the roof the children love to practice
climbing, running, tricycle and balance bike riding, building, and inventing
games with endless enthusiasm. In the classroom the children tackle physical
challenges in a non-competitive, safe environment where learning a new skill
while playing with various tools such as scissors or egg beaters reinforces
fine motor coordination. The small muscles that work to make a tape picture or
guide a paintbrush help children learn to make the precise and refined
movements to perform more difficult tasks such as writing.
Play allows children an outlet to
express their worries, fears, desires and passions. While playing, children
work out emotional issues and seek each other out to gain comfort as they
communicate through their play.