Friday, 11 September 2020

The Importance of Play

The start of a new homeschool year normally causes me to reflect. I reflect on the last year and I also reflect on the year to come, thinking about how I want it to be. I ponder our homeschool environment and what I want learning to look like. One thing I always come back to is play. I am truly grateful that homeschooling allows my children to play, both indoor and out, and learn as they go. Play is such an important part of early childhood that Sue Palmer, states in her latest book, 'Upstart', "Love and play are the greatest gifts any generation can hand on to the next". Furthermore, she claims that there is no doubt that play is a vital factor in childhood health and wellbeing, but why is that?

Importance of play for development and learning

Parents can often overlook the importance of play. They might see it as meaningless and a waste of time. But this could not be further from the truth. Play is perhaps the MOST important use of a child’s time. In fact, Albert Einstein famously said, “Play is the highest form of research.” If Einstein thinks so highly of play, then perhaps we should too.

The thing is, play allows children to develop and learn. We might think of it as a relief from serious learning but this is just not the case. As Maria Montessori, the famous educator, once said, “Play is the work of the child.” Therefore, it should be taken seriously and we should allow and encourage our children to play as much as possible.

From an Islamic perspective it is said that a child should play for seven years, be taught for seven and then you should be his friend for seven. So from this we can see that it is extremely important to allow children to play, particularly in the first seven years of life. Forget the phonics and the maths worksheets, what children really need is to play and discover things for themselves.

You might be wondering, how much time children should spend deep in play; the longer the better. The psychologist Jean Piaget said, “Children require long, uninterrupted periods of play and exploration.” They need to be left to their own devices to explore and discover the world around them. However, while it is important for children to learn how to play independently, it is also great to play with them too.

Is it important to play with your kids?

“Time spent playing with children is never wasted.” - Dawn Lantero

Playing with your child can help to boost their development in so many ways. Interacting with them will help to boost their speech and language skills and enable them to learn the rules of social interaction.

Through play, you can model how to do certain things e.g. how to build a castle, make a daisy chain or roll out play dough and use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Of course, children can discover these things for themselves, but sometimes modelling it to them will help to give them some ideas and show them how different things can be used.

Lawrence Cohen, author of ‘Playful Parenting’ says in his book, “The single most important skill that parents can acquire is playing.” Through play we can discover so much about our child. In fact, the philosopher Plato said, “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” Being playful allows the child to feel comfortable and content and help them to open up and talk about their thoughts and feelings. You can use role play to learn about how children feel about certain situations or teach them how to deal with certain things.

Role of fathers versus mothers

A lot of people may believe that playing with children is is a mother’s job alone. Perhaps this is because the father traditionally works for most of the day and the mother is the one who spends more time with her children. However, the father can also play with his children too. In fact, fathers can offer different play experiences that children will love. For example, fathers may take part in more rough and tumble play with their children, throwing them high in the air or play fighting. Roughhousing can benefit children in so many ways. In their book, ‘The art of roughhousing,’ Cohen and DeBenedet say that roughhousing “makes kids smart, emotionally intelligent, lovable, likeable, ethical, physically fit, and joyful.”  So don't knock it!

I hope this article has made you think about the huge benefits of play. Never see it as a waste of time; children are learning from it. Let them play and make time to play with them too.



Thursday, 27 August 2020

A Liturgy of Love Morning Time Curriculum Review

Morning Time is a concept developed by homeschool mum of 9, Cindy Rollins over the last 30 years. It is a time for the family to come together and connect while reading, singing, learning and worshipping. It is the gentle way to start the day before moving on to more structured lessons or learning activities.


Monday, 17 August 2020

Is Screen Time the Biggest Cause of Speech and Language Delay?

Early language skills are so important and research studies have shown how language ability at two years of age predicts later life outcomes. You may wonder how this is possible but we know that the first two years of a child's life is extremely important. Over the course of the first two years, the brain grows rapidly, more rapidly than at any other stage of life. In the first year it doubles in size and by the age of two, it is 85% of adult size. During this time, a child's brain is building structural and functional connections, wiring up the neural networks as the child experiences new things and gains new skills and abilities. Screens can impact on this early development, often in a negative way. In this article I describe the ways screen time can affect speech and language development.


Monday, 3 August 2020

How Husbands Can Support Breastfeeding

Multicultural motherhood

I am a huge advocate of breastfeeding. I breastfed all four of my babies; the eldest for about a year and the other three for about 2 years. I loved it. I loved the bond it created between my babies and I, I loved how convenient it was and I loved how it gave my babies the best nutrition that was just right for them at each stage of their early development. According to WHO, "Breastfeeding provides every child with the best possible start in life. It delivers health, nutritional and emotional benefits to both children and mothers. And it forms part of a sustainable food system. But while breastfeeding is a natural process, it is not always easy. Mothers need support – both to get started and to sustain breastfeeding." Now that isn't to say that it will be right for every family. I know that it is not possible for every baby to be breastfed, but if you are able to, it is wonderful.


Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Top 50+ Hajj Activities For Kids

Today was the start of Dhul al-Hijjah, the twelfth and final month of the Islamic year. It is a special time of year for Muslims and is marked by the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. This pilgrimage is one of the five pillars of Islam so every Muslim must aim to go on Hajj at least once in their lifetime, if they are able to. 

Saturday, 2 May 2020

Homeschooling Tips and Resources for EAL Families

School closures mean that everyone is now temporarily homeschooling and many parents are anxious about this. It is perhaps even more worrying for families who have English as an additional language. Parents may be feeling overwhelmed with the workload being sent to their children and with the thought that they may have to help their children complete it in English.


Monday, 6 April 2020

Which Language Should I Homeschool in?

The coronavirus pandemic has caused many countries to go into lockdown and this means that schools have closed. Because of this, a lot of families are finding themselves homeschooling for the first time. This raises a dilemma for multilingual families: which language should they homeschool in?

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