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Why play is important

Play is key to lifelong learning! – Play is the best investment in human capital development.

It is very important that children have the opportunity to play using their whole body, to build as many connections in their brains as possible.
Children need to manipulate materials and use all their senses. They learn from experience and doing.

It is not the responsibility of ECD caregivers and ECE teachers to teach reading and writing. It is their responsibility to build enthusiasm for reading and writing in primary education! ECD caregivers and ECE teachers build foundations for skills needed in primary education and life.

Through play children develop many different competencies without realizing it: analytical thinking, creativity, innovation, problem solving, cooperation, language skills, gross and fine motor skills, emergent literacy and numeracy, self-confidence, perseverance, persistence, executive functions, amongst others. This helps children to become successful in their later lives. They will become lifelong learners.

Play is not one way or an option to teach children. It is THE ONLY way! Play is how children learn, it is the work of childhood.

Play doesn’t have to be costly. There are so many materials in the environment that can be used.
There is almost nothing useless in ECD/ECE! ‘Rubbish’ is gold!

Think outside the box. Imagine possibilities. Be creative & innovative!

Through play, children discover, explore, create, innovate, and develop their brains. Investing in brain development is a good foundation for a child’s lifelong learning. If the brain is developed holistically in the early years, academic learning will be meaningful as a result!

Our brain has two parts: the left and right hemispheres. They work together when a child reads and writes.
Many children in Rwanda end Primary 6 without enough reading skills. If those children had played in ECE (and even before, when they were a little baby), their performance in primary school would have been much better. It is possible that the brain parts of these children are not connected well. Play and all kinds of movements, will help to create a strong connection between the two brain parts.

If brain parts do not work well together, they look like this bridge…
It is difficult to pass information.

Gerjanne van Ravenhorst

Same video, but with Kinyarwanda voice over.

Play is the soil from which the child grows!
Vince Gowmon

Play leads to brain plasticity, adaptability and creativity. Nothing fires up the brain like play.

Stuart Brown

Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.

Diane Ackerman