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The Future of Childcare

What is "purposeful play" at a daycare?

I've heard friends mention that their child's preschool/daycare does a lot of purposeful play. What does this mean? Should I be worried that my son's teacher hasn't mentioned this? Is it something we can try at home?

0 Likes 4 Replies


Jamie posted September 25, 2019

Unfortunately, I find many kids today are less capable of imaginative play than previous generations were. A lot of folks feel this is largely because of our culture’s dependence on technology and need to be entertained - who knows. Purposeful play in school is a great way to encourage kids to prioritize play, inspire their curiosity and help them think outside the box. Just ask your son’s teacher - I’ll bet it’s already a part of the curriculum. You may not have known the term for it or what to ask when you enrolled him. If it’s not, this is a red flag. Ask about what kind of play and outdoor activities are encouraged. 0 Likes

Regina posted September 25, 2019

Purposeful play can happen indoors or outdoors, at a playground or in the classroom. It can be structured and guided by an adult, or more free-form and self-guided by the child. Ultimately, it’s a way to enhance play by incorporating opportunities for learning. Movement and activity are closely correlated with learning and retaining information, so purposeful play is a great way to promote movement while also teaching key lessons. You can do it at home, and you might be already! When you take a walk outside, make it a “nature walk” and point out different plants, birds, insects, animals, etc. Ask him if he can identify them, too, before you do. Another good way to do this is to play make believe school and take turns being the teacher - you can actually cover things like counting, spelling, reading and writing while disguising it as play time. 0 Likes

Angela posted September 26, 2019

My son's daycare does purposeful play and I think it's been a wonderful way for the children to learn and play together! He's made so many new friends and I love hearing stories of their different activities after I pick him up from daycare. You should definitely not be afraid to ask your daycare provider about more info on their daycare curriculum and philosophies. This will give you more insight and peace of mind. 0 Likes

Maureen posted September 29, 2019

Purposeful play is the implementation of structured activities that have been planned and facilitated for children to learn through play. There are specific learning objectives that are accomplished through play. 0 Likes