As the director of an early childhood facility, I am asked the same question by parents every day: Why don’t we teach academics instead of play? If parents would do some early childhood research, they would find strong evidence that supports the importance of “play.”

Parents are questioning the value of play for young children, while “play” is being called the key to a child’s educational future by early childhood advocates. Play provides unlimited learning opportunities. Unfortunately preschoolers’ lives are becoming void of play due to the implementation of computers and academic curriculums in early childhood environments. Therefore, early childhood educators need to speak up and educate parents on the necessity of childhood play.

Play is what develops fine and gross motor control. Social play, like playing games, teaches cooperation. Dramatic play helps develop math and writing skills when children imitate community workers. Block play teaches children about teamwork. Art allows children to express how they perceive things from their surroundings. Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is a type of play that allows children to form their own questions and answers through hands on activities.

By interacting with their peers, play is the most effective way for young children to learn. For preschool children to succeed it is imperative that they be able to engage in active, age appropriate play. Preschool play develops a love for learning, the foundation needed for future academic success.  


Maria White

Creative Learning Center

Miramar Beach