The Importance of Role Play for Your Child
Far from being simply a reason to dress up or play games, role play has become recognised by educators as being significant among the recommended tools to use in fostering a child’s development in school. Role play is a fun, creative activity for the child, which comes naturally to them. It’s a part of every child’s play routine, whether the child is in the classroom under a teachers’ supervision or at home with their friends and siblings.
Educators have found that it easily and naturally encourages a child’s development in everything from social skills to problem solving skills. It opens a child’s eyes to the possibilities that are out there. As Albert Einstein famously said, “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
Encouraging a child to think imaginatively and creatively beginning with their experience in kindergarten, instils in them the idea that there are other perspectives than their own. Once they begin exploring these other perspectives and looking at the world as others might see it, they become much more aware of how others in the world think and feel.
They are able to discover on their own not just the concept of right and wrong, but the reasons why something is right or wrong as well. They are able to logically make a connection between what they have been taught and the reasons behind it by taking another’s perspective in considering the rules of society.
Emotional and Social Development
Compassion, charitability and empathy are developed through the use of role play. By assuming the role of another, whether fictional or real, they begin to think abstractly. They learn the concepts of collaboration and cooperation in getting along with others for the mutual benefit of everyone.
They also begin to explore how they feel about interacting with others in different social situations. This is a way to alleviate their fears about what others think about them as they can look at themselves and their actions through another’s eyes and decide whether or not they are behaving correctly in the given situation.
It can build self-confidence in a child who is shy around others. It can also cause a child to recognise that there are certain, invisible boundaries of behaviour that they must recognise in order to get along with others and still be happy with their interactions.
Communication and Language Skills
In discovering that a polite and positive environment can only be achieved through civil discussion and negotiation, the child will naturally broaden their communication skills. Listening to how others explain what they’re thinking and feeling and realising that they feel the same way encourages them to use the same language.
Understanding what is being said is the key to developing language skills. In the child’s mind, “If it worked for them, it must work for me as well.” They begin to pick up words and phrases they’ve heard others use to express what they’re feeling, thereby expanding their vocabulary.
They also begin to understand the meaning of context, and how what you say in a given social situation determines your level of success getting your point across.
Thinking and Problem-solving
In creating games within a role-playing situation, it’s up to those participating to create the scenario, their roles in the scenario and the rules which everyone must follow in reaching a satisfactory conclusion for everyone.
This requires cognitive thinking in making the right decisions in moving the game along. The cognitive process involves the use of logic and problem-solving skills. It also involves explaining this logic clearly to others so they can get onboard and work together on solving the problem.
The success of the logical process can encourage the child to apply the same process to other facets of their life. With an ever-growing number of successful conclusions, they learn a needed skill that will serve them well for the rest of their life.
Creative Development Through Imagination
In the business world, having the ability to think “outside the box” is seen as an enviable asset. But the reason many adults see this as a valued rarity is simply because they have forgotten how to use the power of imagination and creativity in their everyday lives.
By encouraging role play as an ongoing facet of a child’s education, teachers and educators are realising that they can foster a generation of “outside the box” thinkers and raise society as a whole to a new level of understanding that benefits everyone.
If you have more questions about the value of role play in your child’s education, please contact The Apple Tree International Kindergarten in Bangkok and make an appointment to talk to one of their educators.