Neuroscience professionals will agree that children learn more when they are having fun. It is because a region of our brain called the hippocampus, which plays a significant role in whether people can recall what they have learned, is activated. This happens generally when a fun learning environment is present. Fun does not mean everything is extreme, it is simply on the right level. Fun activities give out happy emotions.
All children love to play. Parents and teachers alike can agree to this. At ISC, my programs are always play-centered. It maybe through a sport, a game or even an individual task. As an example; I was teaching different loco-motor movements in my Year 2 class last year. We were learning skipping. I always find it difficult to teach this because it requires good concentration and coordination. After a certain amount of practice, the children were getting the idea of the movement. I always have a game at the end of every class, not just as a reward for doing their best, but also for triggering the hippocampus. We played a game of tag that uses the different movements we learned. I asked them to use skipping when moving away from the tagger and at the end of that class, it was fascinating how most of them were able to perform the skill fluidly. Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t just play that made it easier for the children to remember, but the effect of a fun-filled activity.
Another example is my Kinderswim class for toddlers. Five weeks after starting the program, the progress of the children being confident in the water, moving independently around the pool and even comfortably dipping their faces in the water was noticeable. As it is a play-centered activity, we sing songs, jump to Mommy, free play with toys and ride a float always creating a happy environment and therefore learning more. One of the things I love about being a PE teacher is that I have the chance to teach sports, sportsmanship, teamwork, determination, team spirit, and health and it all revolves around one word: PLAY.
With Neuroscience behind me; this is the foundation of my program. I will continue to use play as a one of my main tools for learning.