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We PLAY and Recognize its Benefits

Updated: 4 hours ago

At Let's Play Music, we value PLAY. We believe that fun, spontaneous experiences heighten enjoyment and create magical discoveries. Play is how children figure things out; play is HOW they learn. Fred Rogers states it perfectly, "Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the 'work' of childhood."

Four Reasons to Play

1. Play gives children the opportunity to try out new ideas in a safe environment. When "it's just a game," a student has freedom from evaluation and judgment. During games, it's easy to embrace mistakes with a laugh because they are a built-in expectation. 

2. During play, children practice human values: cooperation, sharing, turn-taking, and conflict resolution. A child psychologist who would gauge these skills by timing how long children could sustain a group game. One child would invent parameters for the play, "Let's play house," but others would inevitably add suggestions, "no, superheroes!" When the children could compromise, resolve conflicts, and be flexible, then they could keep the game going instead of giving up ("mom! we're bored!") or losing participants ("forget it! I'm not playing with you!"). Play time is an opportunity to practice interacting with others. "Okay, let's be a superhero family and we can pretend to go on a trip." 

3. The child at play is self-motivated and actively engaged. Why do most adults who took a few piano lessons as kids end up not sticking with it? Was practicing drudgery? Were lessons like a lecture? Wondering when it was going to start being fun?

Our long-term goal at Let's Play Music is to help students discover the fun, joy, and playfulness that can be found in making music. Eventually leading students be self-motivated, intrinsically-motivated, to continue with practice and music studies when they graduate our program. Yes, making music takes focus, effort, and WORK. This brings us back to the fuzzy line between work and play: when your child can find the PLAY within the WORK, he'll have the motivation to stick with the training.

4. Play provides opportunities for fine and gross motor development. This truth applies to all of the playtime activities your child enjoys. Think about the countless hours a child spends dressing and undressing a baby doll: definitely lots of fine motor practice there!

Moving around doesn't just improve motor skills; mounting scientific evidence from neuropsychologists and neurophysiologists teaches us that movement is crucial to learning.  Experiential, active instruction is most likely to lead to long-term memory of new concepts.  Playing a game in which you run to the magnet board, add your skip or baby step, and dash back to your seat helps you internalize the concept more strongly than if your teacher just showed it to you.

Not surprisingly, physiological stress reactions can negatively affect learning.  When your mind is in "playtime" mode, you are physiologically relaxed and ready to learn at your best.  Physical movement helps the brain perceive events and information in a non-stressful way so it is learned more easily. Teaching via physical games is a winning strategy we use in Let's Play Music class!

The Results are In

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has identified the importance of playful learning in supporting children's development.

They also note the importance of joyfulness in learning, not typically assessed as an outcome of programs, but identified for its importance. When children find something fun, they learn more effectively.

If you are excited about PLAY and its role in your child's education, be sure to register for Let's Play Music classes, and enjoy some additional reading:

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