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Symbolic play and language development

Angulo-Kinzler et al., 2002 R.M. Angulo-Kinzler, B.D. Ulrich, E. ThelenThree-month old infants select specific motor solutions Motor Control, 6 (1) (2002), pp. 52-68 Baldwin et al., 2001 D.A. Child Development, 72 (3) (2001), pp. 708-717 Bates et al., 1979 E. Academic Press, New York (1979) Bejarano, 2011 T. John Benjamins Publishing Company, Netherlands (2011) Cobo-Lewis et al., 1996 A.B. American Journal of Mental Retardation, 100 (5) (1996), pp. 456-467 DeLoache, 2002 J.S. U. Deutsch and Newell, 2005 K.M. Developmental Review, 25 (2) (2005), pp. 155-180 Fasolo et al., 2008 M. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, 22 (2) (2008), pp. 83-94 Fein, 1981 G.G. Child Development, 52 (1981), pp. 1095-1118 Feldman, 2007 R. Emotion, 7 (3) (2007), p. 601 Frick and Semmel, 1978 T. Review of Educational Research, 48 (1) (1978), pp. 157-184 Garvey, 1990 C. Play, Vol. 27, Harvard University Press (1990) Hiscock and Kinsbourne, 1978 M. Developmental Psychology, 14 (4) (1978), p. 321 Huttenlocher et al., 2010 J. J.M. Leslie, 2002

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Scientists Say Child's Play Helps Build A Better Brain : NPR Ed Deion Jefferson, 10, and Samuel Jefferson, 7, take turns climbing and jumping off a stack of old tires at the Berkeley Adventure Playground in California. The playground is a half-acre park with a junkyard feel where kids are encouraged to "play wild." David Gilkey/NPR hide caption The cognitive benefits of play: Effects on the learning brain © 2008 - 2014, Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Science supports many of our intuitions about the benefits of play. Playful behavior appears to have positive effects on the brain and on a child’s ability to learn. In fact, play may function as an important, if not crucial, mode for learning. Want specifics?

The Brain-Changing Power of Conversation The Science Researchers used highly faithful audio recorders — a system called Language Environment Analysis (known as LENA) — to capture every word spoken or heard by 36 4–6 year olds from various socioeconomic backgrounds over two full days. The recordings were analyzed to measure the number of words spoken by each child, the number of words spoken to each child, and the number of conversational turns — back-and-forth exchanges initiated by either adult or child.

Scientists Say Child's Play Helps Build A Better Brain : NPR Ed Deion Jefferson, 10, and Samuel Jefferson, 7, take turns climbing and jumping off a stack of old tires at the Berkeley Adventure Playground in California. The playground is a half-acre park with a junkyard feel where kids are encouraged to "play wild." David Gilkey/NPR hide caption Deconstructing Role Play – Provide the Resources, Step Back and Watch Children’s Learning Flourish Hospital, vet’s surgery, post office, travel agent – themed role play areas are often seen as a must for an early years setting. They are often meticulously prepared to be aesthetically pleasing, covered in laminated words and pictures with the aim of enticing children in. But this is where I encountered a problem: in these areas, children are expected to come together to play out adult scenarios that are consistent with these themes.

The cognitive benefits of play: Effects on the learning brain © 2008 - 2014, Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Science supports many of our intuitions about the benefits of play. Playful behavior appears to have positive effects on the brain and on a child’s ability to learn. Primary school shake-up to focus on ‘play-led’ learning Children at primary schools would not study traditional subjects until as late as 10 years of age, under proposals being considered by policymakers. Instead, there would be a much greater emphasis on creative play during the early years of primary school, and broader areas of learning in later years. The reforms are based loosely on some of the features of top-performing education systems in countries such as Finland, as well as new research on how children learn. The proposals, drafted by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), represent some of the biggest proposed changes to teaching and learning at primary level in more than two decades. They also seek to give teachers more flexibility and autonomy over the amount of time dedicated to key areas of learning.

How can parents and teachers best educate young children? What principles can both teachers and parents bring to the education of very young children? Gillian Craig, who was part of the Learning Time with Shaun and Timmy writing team, explains. As teachers and parents, we follow certain principles in our roles. Often though, these principles overlap and all we need to do is recognise and reinforce these areas. Ask (the right) questions Importance of play for babies & children Play is more than just fun for babies and children. It’s how they learn best, and how they work out who they are, how the world works and where they fit into it. You can read this article in a selection of languages other than English. The importance of play Playing is one of the most important things you can do with your child, because play is essential for your child’s brain development.

Why Movement is Essential in Early Childhood With so few years under their belts, my 3- and 6-year-old daughters are still learning to inhabit their bodies. They are learning how to maneuver themselves physically, how to orient themselves in space. As Vanessa Durand, a pediatrician at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, says, freedom of movement is necessary for children to meet their developmental milestones: “Children learn by experiencing their world using all of their senses. The restriction of movement, especially at a young age, impedes the experiential learning process.”

Taking Playtime Seriously So part of encouraging play is pulling back on how much programmed goal-directed learning we expect from very young children, to leave them time for the fun of exploration, curiosity and, well, fun. But another important part may be creating environments that foster children’s play and parents’ participation and attention. Dr. Hirsh-Pasek, who is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, cited its Learning Landscapes Initiative, which aims to set up learning opportunities in public places where people will encounter them. One of these, the Urban Thinkscape project in Philadelphia, involves puzzle benches at bus stops, with puzzles designed to build STEM skills.

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