Let Me Play a Little Longer

I believe that it is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact in the world around them.

It’s always a joy to step back and watch children as their play evolves. There is no limit to their potential, with their creativity, ingenuity, and imaginations. Play allows children to create and explore a world they can master. When children feel big emotions or want to deal with their fears, play becomes an outlet for them to express themselves and make sense of situations. This allows them to develop new competencies that lead to enhanced confidence and the resiliency they will need to face future challenges.

At story house Aberglasslyn, our play-based learning programs foster holistic development of children for all age groups and learning styles.  Children should have freedom to play, investigate, imagine, and explore ideas with no expectations. Sometimes it is during our free outdoor exploration where the most magical moments happen – fascination, discovery, challenge & persistence. A rain puddle has an almost magnetic pull for children, they just must explore!

Our educators and families work together for the best interest of every child. Families pack raincoats and gumboots each day ready to play. There is always something to learn when we play in nature and our educators are always ready to learn alongside each child.  Play-based learning fosters critical skills, understanding and dispositions which are essential for your child’s lifelong learning and wellbeing.  Our 0-2 educators use play to interact with our babies, to build attachments. Over the past week, Miss Gemma observed the children’s delight as they engage in dramatic play with baby dolls. This is a natural behaviour for their age, as many of them are learning to mirror repeat actions of those around them. Recognising this play as a spontaneous teaching moment, Miss Gemma and Miss Jane created a sensory learning environment with baths, washes, and dolls, encouraging an exploration of real-life situations. They demonstrated how the dolls could be washed, role modelling gentleness and care towards the dolls as they played alongside the children. Play can promote a child’s brain development in many ways. Children’s success as learners depends on strong foundations developed from infancy and our environments enriched with play, sensory play and play materials provide the perfect life experiences to help build that foundation for each child. According to DEEWR, “Play provides opportunities for children to expand their thinking, ‘enhancing their desire to know and learn’ (DEEWR, 2009)

What started off as an attempt at a pendulum painting with our 2-3 year old in our atelier, quickly became a creative explosion! A wonderful moment of self-expression led by the children that I’ll remember for many years to come.  Paint was squished, squirted, and spattered as we rubbed stomped and even rolled through it. With massive smiles and loud laughter overflowing, a colourful and memorable masterpiece was created. I believe that when we follow a child’s lead in play, they learn that their own ideas are important, validating their choices and supporting their emotional development and independence. 

So, when you ask your child what they learn at school each day.  Please don’t misunderstand when they replied, “I just played.” For you see, they are forever learning as they play. 

Child-led play

Child-led play means following your child’s lead in play. It means watching your child and responding to what she says or does to keep her attention focused a little bit longer.  Following your child’s lead is good because your child learns best when he’s interested in an activity. When you follow your child’s lead in play, you can take advantage of things that interest him to help him learn something new through play. Also, when your child leads, she builds communication skills and learns how she can influence things around her.

What you need for child-led play

You don’t need any equipment for child-led play. All you do is follow whatever your child is interested in at the time. This might be a toy or something in the environment, like a bird or a fire truck. It might even be you, and the funny faces and sounds you’re making together. 

How to follow your child’s lead in play

  • Start by noticing what your child is interested in. It could be something he’s playing with, like a ball, or something he’s doing, like jumping through puddles.
  • Ask your child if you can join in.
  • Go along with what your child is doing. If they roll a ball to you, you might roll it back. Stay focused on the activity. Avoid distracting your child or changing the way the activity is happening.
  • Ask questions or comment on what you’re both doing – for example, ‘That was a big roll – I nearly missed it!’ Give your child time to respond.
  • If your child changes to something new, let him be the leader. For example, if he stops rolling the ball and starts playing with blocks, move to the blocks with him.
  • If your baby responds with gurgles or babble, keep talking as though you’re having a conversation. Or, you see your baby looking at a toy, like a brightly coloured rattle, move it closer to him, and let him try to hold it or shake it.

This information is sourced from raisingchildren.net.au – a parenting website supported by the Australian Government.

-Written by Educational Leader, Jasmine Andrews, Story House Aberglasslyn


About Story House Early Learning Aberglasslyn

Just minutes from Rutherford Public School, Story House Aberglasslyn welcomes families from surrounding suburbs including Rutherford, Maitland, Oakhampton and Oakhampton Heights.

Our service offers smaller class sizes, spacious play areas, and modern educational materials.

Our aim is to provide a secure and happy environment where children can develop their intellectual, social, emotional, physical, and language skills to become competent and confident individuals. And for you to feel safe knowing that your child is receiving the best possible care.

For enrolment enquiries or to book a tour, please contact our Service Manager, Amy Kearney

Phone: 02 4932 1329

Email: [email protected]