What is game-based learning?

There is an old saying: “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach him to fish and he will eat for a lifetime”. This is something of a mantra for early childhood teachers, as they are the ones responsible for building a strong foundation for learning that children can build on as they progress through the school grades. They don’t want to just give kids the answers, they want them to learn how to come up with the answers for themselves and a great way to do that is through play-based learning.

Play-based learning allows children to think creatively, explore, investigate and inquire about the world around them through play. It doesn’t mean giving them a smartphone or a tablet and then walking away, but giving them the materials they can manipulate, build, create and wonder about at their own pace and in their own time.

Children are naturally curious and will ask many, many questions throughout the day. Letting them figure out how things work on their own or with friends gives them a better understanding of things and gives them a sense of accomplishment.

Play develops a foundation for intellectual, physical, emotional, and social skills—all skills necessary for success throughout life. And the best of game-based learning? Children love to play and they don’t see it as learning anything, just having fun. Learning and doing for children are linked, they do not see differences between academic learning and play, that is, they do not understand that they are learning when they are doing but they are. Play-based learning allows children to actively solve problems, helps them with math and literacy skills, and helps them develop social skills such as solving problems with others, sharing opinions with others, and developing ideas about the world around them. .

It is no wonder that many preschool and kindergarten programs around the world have adopted this teaching model. It allows children to think creatively in terms of what they want to do and how they will reach their goal. Children exiting the program have many necessary skills that will serve them well as they enter the elementary and middle school grades and continue their learning. The kind of foundation they get early on goes a long way to their future learning.

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