Role play and exploration: Encourage spontaneity

Role play and exploration: Encourage spontaneity Cover Image

Do you allow your kids to learn through role play? It’s interesting how a little exploration can go a long way.

Children are spontaneous explorers and this exploration gives rise to beautiful learning outcomes.

Professionally, I’m an early years educator, but in truth I consider myself a learner. Children’s capacity to learn is limitless and therefore my learning of how they learn also never ends. They are spontaneous and this role play and exploration gives rise to beautiful learning outcomes.

Exploration and Discovery

One bright morning, our theme was apples, so the children had painted cut outs of apple trees. We’d given small pieces of red crepe paper to crush and make apples for their trees. While the painted trees were drying on the design room tables, they did the paper crushing in the exploration area.

They were all engrossed in their work when one of them spotted a torch lying on the shelf nearby. She picked it up and shone it on the crushed paper apples. Then she switched it off and looked at them without the light beam. She did this repeatedly; ‘Look! Look!’  she called out to her friends. She then picked up a red filter and held it horizontally over the torch face, shone the torch on the table surface through it and then without it. She repeated her actions till she was satisfied.

What she discovered in these moments was a lesson in physics at just 2 and a half years!
What made this possible? The opportunity to work with different textures and colours, the availability of different materials and tools to investigate and the freedom to do what she wanted.

Role Play

Watching children at imaginative role play is a pleasure! The kitchen counter and the puppet theatre are hot favourites. The ease with which children slip into  the roles of a chef,  a waiter or a customer are a delight to see. Making tea and coffee, fruit juice, pizzas and serving themcan carry on for hours. The level of engagement is high and conversations flow naturally.

For a learning space not to be equipped to give an opportunity for role play is to take away from children so many learning opportunities. Development of expression, vocabulary, creative thinking, problem solving are all natural outcomes of role play.

One day, it started pouring just when it was time for the children to go home. Some parents were delayed. I had two children with me and we went to the sit out to watch the rain as we waited. It was a downpour accompanied by a strong wind.

The children watched and made remarks about what they saw.

“The grass is getting so wet!” “ All the leaves also”
I said — “Look at the trees …..see what’s happening!”
Little Abhishek remarked, “The trees are moving with the wind”
Little Megha all of 2 and a half years old – “Yes! The trees are dancing in the wind!”

Megha definitely had not been introduced to Wordsworth’s daffodils dancing in the breeze. It was her very own creation and expression, so profound, so spontaneous!

It was a simple real life experience which brought forth this eloquence in one so young. We need to be aware of the limitless possibilities which children’s minds can reach. We must not let opportunities for these precious moments of togetherness and sharing slip by.

This article originally appeared on Medium.

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