Play is vital for children. Quite literally. It’s through play that babies and young children learn, grow and have fun. It helps them understand the world and to develop socially and emotionally. Singing songs, reading together, playing games with letters and numbers, and having fun with friends gives them a head start. That means not just a happy childhood. It also helps their confidence, so they can handle what life brings them.
For children aged from birth to the end of their first year at primary school (the reception class) they follow what is called the Early Years Foundation Stage. This period of life is really important both in its own right and in preparing children for later learning.
From the age of birth to five, children grow, develop and learn rapidly. They are constantly coming into contact with new experiences which they try to understand. As they do so, they explore the world around them, ask questions, extend their skills, develop their confidence and build on what they already know. Well planned play is central to children’s learning at this age. That way learning is both challenging and fun.