Enhancing Social Skills through Playful Exploration in Early Childhood Education

early childhood education in NYC

Academic researchers, policymakers, and teachers are striving hard to promote the notion of learning through play. Children are more likely to retain information and memorize stories while playing with friends at school and at home. While students learn new concepts with playful activities, they also develop social skills that are key to future cognitive and social development. It is even more prominent during STEAM classes for kids, where they learn to collaborate as team players while learning science concepts.

 

Social Skills Through Early Childhood Education

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), better quality of curriculum during early childhood education is linked to better social skills in children. ECE programs are aimed at improving reading and math skills, self-regulation skills, social development, emotional development, and fine motor skills. At Mindnasium, early childhood education through STEAM activities covers a broad spectrum of child development. As children build robots, play games, and paint their favorite cartoon characters, they communicate as teams to foster communication and collaboration. Through the concept of “we” and “us,” children learn to celebrate the success of their friends, which nurtures empathy and prosocial behavior.

Children also learn the critical skill of rule-based learning as they take turns, share resources, and accept outcomes, even when they are not the winner. It lays the foundation for emotional regulation and understanding different perspectives, leading to self-control and social competence.

Moreover, early childhood education teaches children to use gestures, expressions, and shared experiences to communicate during playgroup and classroom sessions. As a social skill, non-verbal communication using facial expressions and body language is equally important to express emotions, understand others, and build strong social bonds.

 

Playful Activities for Social Development

Learning through play is essential for the development of children’s social skills. As highlighted, it helps children develop communication, collaboration, and team-building skills while assisting them in applying empathy, sharing resources, and accepting outcomes as part of the rules-based play. Here are some activities that can be crucial in strengthening social skills in children as part of early childhood education.

  • Telephone Pictionary is an excellent activity to improve collaboration skills as one child whispers a picture idea to another, who draws it. The following person describes the drawing to the next, who draws their interpretation, and so on. The final drawing rarely resembles the original idea, leading to laughter and discussion.
  • Group games like Simon Says, Freeze Dance, and card games where children imitate each other’s actions. Such activities enhance non-verbal communication, coordination, and following instructions.
  • Doctor’s Office is another exciting game where kids play with doctor’s kits and stuffed animals. Children can take turns being doctors and patients, practicing empathy, communicating, and caring for others.

While designing games as part of early childhood education, it is essential to ensure that a specific time is allotted for games and that they are integrated into the curriculum. Moreover, it is necessary to keep rotating games so kids stay energized while ensuring the material used to prepare these games correlates to their interests.

During the STEAM classes for kids at Mindnasium, children learn to express their emotions and understand scientific concepts through art. The use of art within STEM learning provides a fresh outlook for children, allowing them to communicate their ideas and collaborate through paints and crayons. Children work together to fill colors and share their final work of art through storytelling and group interpretations.

 

Conclusion

Playful activities are not just used for fun but are integral to early childhood education. Careful application of games can help children learn basic social skills such as following instructions, communicating ideas, and sharing resources. Children learn empathy, laugh together, and create bonds that are key to nurturing social development.