Is Play In Early Years The Secret Too Success?

If you’ve read any of our previous blog posts chances are you know that we believe play can have a huge impact on childhood development.

Outdoor play gives children the opportunity to practise running, jumping and balancing along with fine motor skills. It helps them develop social skills and resilience. In short, outdoor play is vital to help children develop the skills they need for later life.

However research now suggests that it could also impact a child’s future success – including the likelihood that they will graduate with a degree.

Recent studies suggest that social and emotional competency is a bigger predictor of academic –and life- success than other ‘traditional’ markers such as being an early reader, maths genius or computer whiz.

Instead interpersonal skills such as showing empathy and being able to resolve conflict were deemed the most important.

However interpersonal skills such as these can’t be fully taught in a classroom or from a text book. They need to be experienced and practised in real life.

And this is where play comes in.

Play allows children to explore different scenarios and try out different roles within the group dynamic.

Erika Christakis, author of The Importance of Being Little: What Pre-schoolers Really Need from Grownups, writes, “Play is the foundational building block of human cognition, emotional health, and social behaviour. Play improves memory and helps children learn mathematical problems in their heads, take turns, regulate their impulses, and speak with greater complexity.”

Unstructured play time is a chance for children to learn the skills that will carry them through later life and impact the different levels of success they go on to achieve.

However not all play brings equal benefits.

To gain the most – and learn the most – children must be given some independence. Sure you may want to set up a scenario or promote certain toys – that’s fine! However the children must then be left to take control of the game and how it plays out. When a conflict arises they must be allowed the opportunity to resolve it themselves, before an adult steps in to help. This way they can practise the interpersonal skills that will play a big part of their lives later on.

When it comes to child-lead, unstructured play having an open space can be a great help. This is why so many nurseries and pre-schools choose to revamp their outdoor areas, as it gives children more space and can be less disruptive than indoor play.

As such we have offer safety surfaces that can be installed on to existing tarmac, concrete and even new sub-bases to ensure children are safe whilst enjoying outdoor space. It has been especially designed to reduce the risk of head injuries and has been tested for slip-resistance.

To find out more about our surface, or to discuss your own outdoor space please contact our team today.