In to offer. The context of the environment can

In early years, play is a fundamental part of a child’s development.
Through play


children gain skills that will help them progress in life. This essay
shall focus on

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the importance of play in the early years setting. The most important


concerning this are: developing skills for later life; gives opportunity
for creative


development and emotional development; helps aid social development and


revealing a child’s behavior and attitudes in line with society’s norms


values. This will be supported by key theorists and experience in actual


years settings. These will all explain the key aspects of the importance
of play in


early years settings.



Firstly, one importance of play in an early years setting is to help develop


for later life. When at home children are socialised through play at a
young age


to fit society’s norms and values for later life. At home it is known as


socialisation and in an early years setting it is known as secondary


This can be done through the variety of activities the settings have to
offer.  The


context of the environment can change the way the children are


differing from what they may have been taught in a home environment and


rest of society (Grusec et al, 2015). From experience in an early years
setting, it


seems that early years have resources for roleplay, dress up, home area
and a


creative area. The roleplay, dress up and home areas are the ones that


more on socialising children for the skills they need in later life. In
the home


area, children seem to copy skills they have learnt from their parents.
This can


include domestic activities such as cooking and cleaning. However,


children who do not spend as much time with their parents may be unsure
as to


how to use this area. Therefore it is important, according to Manning et


(1977) that early year’s settings provide a home area to help teach these


Only through playing with adults and other children will they learn these


They also say how children from different cultural backgrounds may play


the home area in a different way, and may ‘introduce new ideas into


play’. Steiner (cited in Miller et al, 2011) supports this provision to
help children


gain skills through play.  He said
that ‘it is imitation that is seen as the key


learning method for children under the age of 7’. Through watching others
at lay


in an early year’s home area, children learn to take on the skills that
will be


useful in later life. This concept can also be used in a role play, dress
up area.


By watching other adults in jobs the children can act out what they have


observed the adults role doing. This could influence their choices in


educational and career choice in later life. However, Mayall (cited in


2006) says that childhood should be more than just a period of waiting
for later


life and practicing these skills rather than using their imagination to


something new. They say that ‘we should not forget that children are


beings, not human becomings’. Therefore, this all shows that play is


in an early years setting in terms of helping develop skills for later
life. Through


the provision of the right resources for play, children can learn these
skills that


will help them learn the norms and values of society.



Moreover, another importance of play in an early years setting is that it


the opportunity for creative development. Throughout all aspects of paly


children need to use their imagination to create either games or art or


situations. Therefore, play develops their creativity to fit certain
aspects of early


years settings and the peers around them. Craft (2006) says that creative


development consists of how children use different ways to use their


imagination to represent certain aspects. This can also be aided through


use of certain provisions that helps provide inspiration. Say if a
stethoscope is


provided in a role play, dress up area a child may come up with a game


involves creating a hospital environment in the classroom. Therefore, it


challenges children to come up with certain situations through play which


to challenge them to use their imagination to a greater extent. Craft
(2010) also


expresses how important creative development is in today’s society.  The fact


that society is less organized and has more freedom in choice means that


children have room at a young age to express their different creative


that would have been more set organized ideas in past years. Teachers can


help aid this creative development by providing a number of different


to help aid play in a creative way, such as role play and dress up


musical instruments; home area objects and art resources. This creative


development can also be linked to emotional development. Griffiths (1935)


the phrase that ‘imagination may be called the reflection of the
emotional life’.


Children may express their emotions through ideas that play may
introduce. A


particular subject may be slightly emotionally sensitive to a child and


creative concepts they come out with may reflect their emotional state


this subject. This develops their emotional development by actually


their emotions rather than concealing them. Instead, they can face them


on and may find a psychological relief in expressing it with peers
through play,


in a more comfortable environment. The provision of resources, as


earlier, can also help provide this. Certain objects may provide
inspiration for


children to act out these emotions. This can also be a vital tool for
teachers in


seeing if children have any problems at home to be concerned about.


some people disagree with the provision of resources: as it hinders


creative development rather that aiding it. Bruce (2006) uses the concept
of ‘the


colouring- in curriculum’. By providing the resources it hinders the


of what children can create as they are given a framework to use in their


rather than just using basic imagination. Overall, this shows that
through play,


children can develop their creative and emotional development in the


years setting.



Furthermore, another importance of play in the early years is that it
helps to aid


social development. Through a limited amount of certain resources,
children will


need to interact with other peers to share these and learn to play


Therefore, it teaches them teamwork skills and how to interact with


Montessori (cited in Miller et al, 2011) supports this as she says that


should be independent from adults and instead interact with their peers.


Therefore, interacting with peers through play helps develop this social


development. Working with peers can also test children’s creative and


emotional development as well. Children need to adapt their play to fit
the ideas


of all the peers involved. From experience, not all children have the
same ideas


about how to play. Children need to come up with ideas to fit all and
learn to


compromise so that everyone is happy with the play situation. In terms of


emotional development, disagreements can cause high tensions between


children and tests how children control their emotions when there is a


of ideologies. However, adults could also be involved in helping aid the


development through play. Adults may provide the inspiration for play by


interacting with the children and therefore acting as a role model. Also,
the adult


could actually get involved with the play. This helps develop children’s


interactions with people of different ages. Overall, this all shows how
play in an


early years setting can help aid social development.



To conclude, overall play is very important in the early years setting.
It mostly


helps to develop children’s skills in life; whether it’s society’s norms
and values,


social, creative or emotional development. All of these skills can be


through play. Therefore, this helps the children through life and
provides all they


need to adapt to changes in their life. All the evidence used supports


points and helps develop understanding of the importance of play in the


years setting.


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