“In play it is as though (the child) were a head taller than himself. As in the focus of the magnifying glass, PLAY contains all developmental tendencies in a condensed form and is itself a major source of development.” Lev Vygotsky.
Play presents children with a strong opportunity for growth as it meets the needs of the whole, individual child. All domains of children’s development- cognitive, social, emotional and physical- are intricately intertwined. Play benefits each of these skills in direct and indirect ways.
Children learn and practice cognitive skills including language, problem solving, creativity, and self regulation. Socio-emotional needs can be seen in children’s ability to interact with others, negotiate, and compromise. They also practice strategies to cope with fear, anger and frustration. Moreover, block building, drawing, running, and jumping all contribute to the development of fine and gross motor skills. When children have the chance to direct their own learning through play, they are able to address their own immediate and developmental needs and find activities that are most conducive to their individual learning styles.
Parents are children’s first play partners. Changing life styles and busy schedules have become barriers for parents to engage their children in active play. Early involvement from adults as initiators, directors, and partners in play serves to scaffold young children’s abilities so that play structured by an adult is more sustained and sophisticated than the child would be able to achieve alone or with peers.
When play is fun and child centered, children are motivated to engage in opportunities to learn. Children will learn to play through play. Children will learn to play on both social and cognitive continuums’ of play.
Language and Thinking Skills
Language is a set of shared rules that allow people to express their ideas in a meaningful way. Language may be expressed verbally or by writing, signing, or non-verbally making using gestures, eye gaze, looking, facial expressions and body language.
Three parts that form Language are semantic (meaning), syntax (structure) and pragmatic language (practical application of language). A thought leads to language which turns into a conversation.
The main focus of the Language session will be on Pragmatic Language, i.e. practical application of Language which will majorly focus on purposes of communication, modification of language according to person one is communicating to or the context or environment one is in; leading to a conversation. Thinking skills are targeted to make the child an active being.
Play can be a major factor in developing an understanding of one’s self and others. Play can help children to regulate their emotions by providing an outlet to deal with stress in the moment, allowing children to revisit and understand disturbing experiences after the fact, and giving them the tools to cope with distress in the future. Play gives children means to exert control over their environment and to regulate their thoughts and feelings. It offers children the opportunity to exercise and master all kinds of feelings in a risk free context by exploring and modifying their emotional experiences. Through play children will learn to regulate their emotions, emotional understanding and emotional expression.
My Whole Child provide services ensuring that they are tied to meaningful, functional outcomes and incorporate activities that relate to natural learning environments. We suggest that parents use one-on-one services in conjunction with group services to teach specific-skills that the child will then use in the group setting.