Sara Smilansky and the Importance of Play Share By A Preschool in Circa FL

Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academy Circa FishHawk, a Circa FishHawk, FL preschool, prides itself in providing a unique combination of safe surroundings, loving interactions with the staff, and advanced curriculum founded upon play-based activities. The mission at Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academy is to provide a secure, nurturing, and educational environment for children to bloom. Where they learn how to be responsible, considerate, and contributing members of society. Children at the educational preschool have the opportunity to develop physically, emotionally, socially, and intellectually by playing, exploring, and learning with others in a fun, safe, and healthy environment. Being family-owned and operated, Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academy welcomes positive family involvement and encourages a parent-teacher approach where the needs of every child come first.

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The motto “Hug First, Then Teach” defines every aspect of Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academy. This “whole child approach” strengthens and encourages every child’s emotional, intellectual, social, and physical well-being. “Play-based activities” and “playing with a purpose” are the core pillars of Kids ‘R’ Kids approach to learning and teaching.

Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academy inspires learning with a loving environment that nurtures inquisitive minds to prepare children for the age of innovation. The First Class Curriculum is a comprehensive core curriculum designed to empower children to learn through playing with a purpose. Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academy learning methods are research-based and standards-driven supported by the leading educational theories of Piaget, Vygotsky, and Sara Smilansky. An early pioneer in child development, Sarah Smilansky spent her entire life researching children at play. The conclusion of her life’s endeavor is summed up in the words “play is important.”

Who was Sara Smilansky?

Sara Smilansky (1922-2006) was a professor at Tel Aviv University in Israel and was also a visiting professor for many respected universities such as the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research focused on play training and its effects on children. She wrote much on children’s play and its relation to learning. She worked with Jean Piaget, a giant in the arena of developmental psychology in the twentieth century for her research on children and play.

The Four Types of Play

Smilansky focused her research on children’s play, how they learn through play, and how it relates to their future success. One of Smilansky’s main findings in her studies was that children engage in four types of play.

  • Functional play: This play begins at an early age in the development of a child. It includes activities that utilize muscles or sensorimotor. This type of play strengthens and refines motor skills and seems to satisfy a child’s need to be active and energetic.
  • Conditional play: This type of play involves sensorimotor activities that arouse creativity.
  • Games with rules: This play includes both table games and physical games. Play of this nature allows children to understand the idea of rules, accept the rules, and play by the rules.
  • Dramatic play: Children are beginning to understand their surroundings and imitate what they see.

Smilansky and her colleagues concluded that these types of play had positive effects on the future academic success of children.

preschool circa fl

Sociodramatic Play

Smilansky’s research also focused on sociodramatic play and its impact on children’s learning. It is part of the dramatic play where children engage in a social setting. There are two elements of Sociodramatic play: Imitative play and Imaginative play. Imitative play involves imitating what already exists and has been observed. Imaginative sociodramatic play is where the child creates what they imitate. Sociodramatic play improves speech patterns, verbal skills, vocabulary, overall communication, and interactive skills.

While sociodramatic play can be directed and purposeful, it’s also free, unfettered, innovative, exciting, creative, and spontaneous. It is in this unencumbered environment that sociodramatic play – which to a greater or lesser extent involves the other three types of play – meets its maximum potential and has its greatest impact.

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