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The IB recently published a paper to support parents and their younger children at home.  Titled “Inquiry Through Play – Supporting PYP Parents” there are a collection of helpful tips available for us at home.
  Here are a few excerpts from their paper:
From birth, children are ‘hands-on’ natural inquirers and learn through playful interactions with people and their environment. Play is an essential aspect of a child’s healthy development. Through play-based learning, children develop and nurture fundamental knowledge and skills.
 
These skills aim to support children of all ages to become learners who know how to ask good questions, set effective goals and pursue their aspirations with the determination to achieve them.
 
In addition to developing such skills, play is important for social, emotional, physical and mental wellbeing of children. As our world is constantly changing, play is significant for children to have a joyful channel to reduce their anxiety that comes with such change.
 
Children are curious and capable learners with a sense of agency, rich in potential, bringing valid skills, preferences and understandings of learning. Through play, children actively create meaning from their interactions with people and their environments. These meanings are revisited and revised in light of new experiences and further learning.

 

Five key characteristics of Inquiry through Play:

  1. Play is meaningful
  2. Play is joyful
  3. Play is actively engaging
  4. Play is iterative
  5. Play is socially interactive

 

How can parents support play?

  • Resources – commercially produced or invented from available materials, nearly anything can be transformed into great fun!
  • Space – a grand home is not needed for a child’s imagination to be freed. Knowing that there is room to create and engage is all that’s needed!
  • Time – extended and uninterrupted time allows for deep involvement in play.
  • Being okay with some clean up – get your camera ready (and possibly the mop and bucket) to make the most of some untidy fun.
  • Join in – play along, follow the rules, allow your child to flex their inner leader freely. As you join in, trigger their thinking with these fantastic questions:

 

Stimulating questions to support your child in play:

  • I wonder what would happen if… ?
  • How do you know… ?
  • How can we find out more about… ?
  • How could you share this with… ?
  • Who could help us… ?
  • Is there another way to… ?

  Listen to your child while they play.  They likely use more sophisticated language than you would usually expect.  The Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky said,

“In play, a child always behaves beyond his average age, above his daily behaviour. In play, it is as though he were a head taller than himself.”

It seems to us that the more opportunities we provide to our children to “defy expectations” they better off they are!