Home Term Info Pre-Primary Play is crucial to a child's development but when should the learning start?

Play is crucial to a child's development but when should the learning start?

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Many of us look back on our Pre-Primary school years and remember all the games and the fun times playing during those "good old" days. For the majority of people these years were the happiest and filled with "playing".

What we didn't realise back then, is that all those games and fun activities we were busy with were carefully constructed and designed by curriculum requirements and the teachers to optimally encourage and promote growth and development. Learning through play is a crucial element of Early Childhood Development (ECD). Play is one of the best ways in which children learn - it is fundamental in their intellectual and physical growth and essential for their social and emotional development. It is through play that they learn about

relationships and it fosters flexibility and resilience. Play also promotes the development of a child's cognitive skills. Play activities stimulate children neurologically from an early age and are critical to setting the foundation for their maths and literacy skills development. The knowledge and skills that a learner assimilates in their early years are crucial to determining the rate of success that they will experience in school in later years.

Knowing this, how do you decide when to move your child from their playful 'educare' environment to a more structured environment that will prepare them for their formal schooling years which begin in Grade R?

When making this decision, parents should consider the many advantages of moving to the pre-school of choice for Grade 0.

Most important, is the essential transition from play to learning. In a Pre-Primary environment, Grade 0 teaching staff work in conjunction with their contemporaries in Grade R to ensure that the programmes taught, correctly prepare children for the step ahead. Together they devise programmes that enable the children to start learning through play.

Moving to a new environment can be stressful for children (and parents too I imagine!). The transition to Grade R will be much less traumatic if your child is already enrolled in Grade 0 at the same school. They will be well settled and familiar with both the staff and school before they start Grade R. They will be familiar with the values and ethos of the school, know what behaviour is expected of them and will be ready to start learning from day one of Grade R!

Another consideration is availability of space in the Grade R class of your choice. In many pre-schools, the grade 0 class feeds directly into the Grade R class. If you have your heart set on a particular school, joining in Grade 0 may be the best method of securing your place in Grade R. This is particularly true of schools such as Lilyfontein, which restricts its classes to 2 per grade and restricts the number of learners per grade to ensure a qualitative learning environment, wherein each learner feels appreciated and valued.

When making your decision, consider where you would like your child to be educated, visit the school and get a feel for the ethos and environment in which they will be educated and know, that if you move your child to grade 0 in their more formal school environment, you will be setting them on a continuum to educational success.

Written by: ROBYN CLARK (B.ed. - Cum Laude)