Child directed play is allowing the child to choose how they will spend their time playing. The parents' or teachers' role is to provide interest centres with age and developmental appropriateness taking safety precautions when setting up the play environment. The space should function with choice so the child feels control over their choices. When children are empowered in their learning, they are more likely to cooperate and explore within the boundaries set.
The children's role is to freely explore and take risks when appropriate to enhance their learning. The adult involved may choose to set expectations of their child and how the materials are to be used. For example, when a mess happens (which it may) we all help clean up. If we become frustrated with the materials or our friends, we take a breath and a break, we wouldn't throw the items or hit.
• Listen to the cues from your child for when to interject
• Communicate with your child to expand their vocabulary and language
• Observe how your child is using the materials and take opportunities to suggest further exploration
• Add, minimize or alter as you see fit from your observations and interactions
• Document your child's play by writing about what they are doing and take pictures of them playing (this allows for opportunities for language opportunities for retelling about their play)
Development relies on the collaborative effort in play between parent and child. By taking the time to observe and listen to your child you will then be able to artfully direct their play for the most effective and productive play.
If you have any questions about child-directed play please speak to one of our facilitators at any three of our centres.