Importance of Play in Early Childhood Care and Education
Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE in NEP) makes a positive contribution to children’s long term development and learning by facilitating an enabling and stimulating environment in these foundation stages of lifelong learning. NEP covers three years under early childhood care and education (ECCE) and four years under secondary education. ECCE would facilitate play and discovery-based learning for children of that age group.
The need of Play in ECCE is that Play enriches a child’s brain, body and life in important ways. Play can be sensory, neuromuscular, and cognitive. It involves repetition of experience, explorations, experimentation and imitations of one’s surroundings. It is voluntary or freely chosen, personally directed ( often child initiated) and free from externally imposed rules.
How is play important?
Play is important in ECCE as -
- It builds imagination and creativity
- Fosters cognitive growth
- Delivers emotional and behavioral benefits.
- Improves literacy
- Encourages independence
- Promotes physical Fitness.
What are the different categories of play?
There are different categories of play
- expressive play
- manipulative play
- dramatic play
Hence with this view Play is different at different age levels-
Toddlers begin dramatic play; they enjoy manipulating small objects. As they increase their motor skills, they enjoy feeling different textures such as clay, sand, finger paints, push-pull toys, water play etc.
Preschoolers enjoy riding toys, building materials such as sand and blocks. They like to run, jump and hop. They love pretending to be something or somebody and playing dress-up using imagination and creativity.
School-aged children has an organized direction when it comes to play. The child gains awareness of rules when playing games, and begins to compete in sports. Keeping all these vital things in view, the New Education Policy 2022 supports Play as powerful process of early learning in ECCE.
Learn about the various types of play in details in this blog.