Early Childhood Experiences: Helping kids learn through play

It’s a psychological fact that children’s brains start developing at an early age – and one of the best vehicles to help that process is play. Play, to kids, is like flowers to bees – they typically go together and are irresistible and inseparable! When you have a child attending child care in Gaithersburg Maryland, staff at those centers build on that reality to help your child develop.

But it’s not just about putting kids together in a room with toys. Child care specialists at Montgomery Child Care Association (MCCA) centers use carefully designed play activities to cater to specific developmental phases of your child.

The Stages of Play Development

Trained professionals, like the ones that care for pre-school and school age children at MCCA, understand that play isn’t just a method to entertain or pacify children. When used appropriately, through various developmental stages of a child, play is a powerful teaching aid.

So, what types of play activities do the specialists provide at child care in Gaithersburg MD? Well, each play activity is tailored to meet the learning needs of a child at a specific stage of their development:

  • Solitary Play: These play activities help infants and toddlers (age 0 to 2) explore their environment by themselves
  • Parallel Play: Preschoolers and toddlers (ages 2 to 3 years) play and explore games, toys and other objects in the company of others (but not necessarily “along” with one another) as onlookers and solitary players
  • Associative Play: Typically arranged for children ages 3 to 4 years, these activities help children understanding the joys of organized, group play activities, though not necessarily coordinating or planning how the play or interact together
  • Cooperative Play: Often encouraged with kids 4 to 5 years old, these activities help build the sense of joint play among children. They may include kids playing different roles (Shopper/Store owner; Parent/Child; Teacher/Student), choosing their games and selecting appropriate props and toys

Childhood educators, working with children attending child care in Gaithersburg Maryland, use their knowledge of child psychology and child behavior to use play activities that help children move from one stage of development to another. They use an array of techniques, including encouragement, enticement, incentives, rewards, praise and challenges to make children willingly join the learning activities for their specific age groups.

Most importantly, these play activities are designed with the child’s safety in mind. For instance, children aged 4 or 5, will never play or learn in the same environment as infants or toddlers. As well, the types of toys and games used are uniquely chosen for each learning objective – they’re age-appropriate and totally safe for that stage of play development.

Just Learning Makes Children Cranky!

It’s true, that while children attend child care in Gaithersburg MD, their learning and development needs are the focus of staff and educators. However, these trained professionals know that even children need to relax, play and have fun. Just forcing them to learn for the sake of learning isn’t fun – neither for your child, nor the educators caring for their needs.

So, when your child is here, under supervised care of our professional staff, they learn while playing…but they also play and have fun while learning. It’s a carefully structured learning program that develops a child’s mental, physical and psychological faculties, while also adding fun, entertainment and excitement to the child’s time here.

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