Imaginary play is the most important component of play that children can experience. It helps to develop and bring out their creativity and builds up their skills on an emotional, social, cognitive and physical level.
Dr. Gail Gross says that this kind of creativity, if allowed to blossom, is the same creativity that helps the scientist to discover new cures for diseases, companies to come up with the next technological advances and inventions, and leaders to move their countries into peace. It is imaginative play that helps your child relate to his or her feelings and strong emotions, to gain control over his behaviour, and to work through his darker thoughts and feelings of anger, fear and guilt.
The Grade R class at Funimfundo worked with big cardboard boxes this week and transformed them into fantastic, imaginary cars and boats. We guided the children through a movement story and the children added to the story themselves by exploring different movements, sounds and places (imaginary) to go to during their holiday (as the end of term and Christmas holidays are approaching).
Our mission at Creative Works is to inspire a creative approach to early childhood education and inspire teachers to transform their classroom into an interactive space for learning.
Parents and teachers can encourage imaginary play by:
- Holding a safe space for children without judgment. Let children express their different emotions in the process and don’t tell them what is right or wrong. Acknowledge their feelings and respect them. They are real.
- Let the play be led by the child. Observe and hold the space but don’t direct or interfere (except if there is danger or harm). Be a guide and companion for the child and build up a trusting relationship.
- Remember that you do not need expensive equipment. Encourage your child to use every day material that they see every day such as cardboard boxes, newspaper sheets, paper rolls or paper cups, pieces of cloth and nature material such as leaves or shells.
- Encourage verbal expression and the development of words and vocabulary through imaginative play. Speak with each other, give your child space and time to express themselves. This encourages literacy skills at a young age and in a child-centred and fun way.
- Connect as an adult with your own creativity… and play.
Creative Works and our partners
The Creative Works team would like to acknowledge Nandipha Mtanyana who is the Grade R teacher and headmistress at Funimfundo Preschool. She is a dedicated and enthusiastic educator and has adapted a creative and innovative approach in her grade R classroom. Thank you Nandipha for a wonderful, fun and energetic collaboration in 2017.
by Regina Broenner