School readiness and open-ended play
Often when we prepare our children for their school years, we automatically revert to the age old "do as you are told and don't question why". We want them to behave and 'follow the rules' as we were likely required to do in our own early experiences of school.
But when our children reach adulthood, are these the values we want them to hold as adults in the workforce? Certainly not! We want creative and confident adults who can solve problems with ease and consider different perspectives. We want adults who experiment and think outside the box when making complex decisions. As adults we are truly valued when we have the confidence and ability to think for ourselves.
So how can we best support our little ones to enter the school system as creative, independent thinkers with a blooming love of learning?
By providing opportunities for open-ended play right from birth! The years a child spends at home before school are absolutely vital. Their brains are developing at a rate that would astound you and we can really get a head start on nurturing some of the critical life skills we want them to carry into their school years and beyond.
In these crucial early years, children learn through experimentation in play which in turn builds connections in their brain. Our amazing little learners are born naturally curious and we want to encourage a deep love of learning so they can thrive when they do eventually start school.
Learning through play sets the foundation that our children need to bloom into curious and enthusiastic learners when they start school. Open-ended toys encourage unstructured and process orientated learning that breeds motivated learners. Open-ended toys allow children to develop a range of skills that are crucial for school readiness such as;
- Confidence in decision making
- Confidence to test ideas
- Creative thinking
- Problem solving
- Emotional and social development
- Lateral thinking
- Concepts of early maths and science
- Leadership skills
The best way you can prepare your child for school is by giving them every opportunity possible to engage in open-ended play and the first step is to provide the right open-ended toys. All learning starts at home, and presenting our children with the right environment to explore their feelings and ideas through play will be the ultimate tool to have in their toolkit when they hit the classroom.