Free, imaginative play is one of the most important activities for the young child, both as a means of fostering the capacities ripe for development in the young child and laying the foundation for intellectual skills and emotional well being. The class provides an oasis where the child’s creative imagination is protected, nurtured and cultivated through play. Children take up unstructured materials such as cloths, crates, rocking boards, blocks of wood, shells and pine cones to create imaginary worlds. Free play strengthens the child’s imagination, providing a critical foundation for future learning in the grade school.
Play is an important factor in promoting healthy physical, social, emotional and intellectual development. In the physical realm, children are using their limbs (through movement) to respond to their environment. The child’s natural inclination to be active is honored and respected. Movement is crucial for the developing brain and is essential for optimal learning. Children learn about relationships through cooperation and flexibility. Language skills are enhanced when children describe their play to others in order for them to participate. Discipline, concentration, interpretation, and adaptation are skills learned through socio-dramatic play.
In the Waldorf Early Childhood programs, the child’s work is PLAY; creative play that is. We provide the children with the elements to bring his or her play to that quality. Children’s play is universal. If children around the world are provided with the same elements of play, they come up with the same evolution in their play.