Play-based learning is so important in the development of the child. If the child does not first develop gross motor skills, it will be harder to develop their fine motor skills for school-based tasks like writing. Gross motor skills help foster the skills needed to be successful in the school environment. If the child doesn’t develop hand-eye coordination, or weight shifting side-to-side, they will have more difficulty with learning to read (left-to-right skill). Learning how to cross midline helps a child develop hand dominance. If they don’t work on their core muscles they may not be able to sit still in class due to muscle fatigue. If they are wiggling in their seats because they can’t support themselves, they are not going to focus on what the teacher is saying.
They might also try to support themselves by using a hand on the desk due to core weakness, but this will again impede their learning. One hand is used to write and the other hand is the helper to hold the paper. These are just a few examples of the physical benefits of play-based learning, but one I think that is often overlooked. Play-based learning also helps build the necessary problem solving skills, body awareness, and motor planning that will help a child be successful in the school environment.
My daughter still talks about her time with Miss Megan and she is currently in 3rd grade. She would like to be a teacher when she grows up, in part to her time at First Presbyterian Preschool. You can’t overvalue instilling the love of learning in a child.
Rachel Goudie, FPP Mom and Physical Therapist