Researchers and educators agree that learning science through play is a critical part of childhood learning that should not be sidelined. Science impacts our daily lives and influences the daily decisions we make about teaching, raising our families, and engaging with our communities and the outside world. For the benefit of students and society, our students need to be more scientifically-literate than we were. The push for STEM education solely relied on providing opportunities to students to do what scientists do and think as scientists think.
If we look at eight K-12 Science and Engineering Practices, four practices include asking questions and identifying problems; planning and carrying out investigations; and constructing explanations and designing solutions which reveal science as a dynamic, spiraling, evolving, and inherently playful process. Educators and schools should use free and guided play on young children’s development and learning to maximize the quality of science and preschool children’s STEM skills and language. As one of the best CBSE schools in Dehradun that focuses on free and guided play when it comes to student’s learning.
Play primes students to behave and think like scientists
Teachers can harness and nurture the child’s curiosity and inclination towards exploration by using guided play to help students ask, investigate, think, and talk about science questions such as:
-What should I do to make soap bubbles large?
-How much water and soap solution should I mix for more extended durability of a soap bubble?
-What will happen if you remove the block from the middle of the tower of blocks?
Children’s inborn curiosity compels them to explore their surroundings, test their ideas, seek out relationships and patterns, and figure out how and why the world works the way it does. All they need is a little spark in the form of guided play.
Materials that lead to playing also lead to science and learning
Playing with open-ended, everyday natural and designed objects such as boxes, leaves, and buttons promote creativity and exploration in many different ways, including investigating light, understanding shadows and reflections, and much more. Students do both open and more focused science investigations with everyday objects, and this exploration of knowledge can be enhanced if teachers collect them thoughtfully and use them intentionally with students.
As the best school in Dehradun, we believe that it is crucial now more than ever to support and enhance our students’ 21st-century skillsets – critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creative problem solving, to name a few that will serve them well next year in the wake of COVID-19. Last but not least, let the students play, experiment, and use their imaginations.