— World Economic Forum (@wef) May 16, 2018
One approach to redesigning education systems and equipping children with the right skills is often overlooked. We need to provide opportunities for children to learn in the way most natural and engaging to them: through play. We also need to erase the false dichotomy often drawn between children’s play and their learning of academic content.
From the earliest moments of infancy, children have an amazing natural ability to learn about the world through play and a growing body of evidence underscores how play is paramount to children’s development and learning. We know that creativity is a hugely important skill and pretend play – pretending to be Batman or to host a tea party for imaginary friends – is a way for children to practice original thinking, one of the main cognitive processes in creativity.
Playing also helps children to learn skills that are predictive of later academic achievement. For example, research shows that construction play is related to the development of spatial visualization skills – and these skills are strongly connected to math skills and problem-solving.
A recent study determined that for every $1 invested in early, quality play-based education, $7-12 is returned to society. As such, learning through play is simply a great investment for society.