Those of us who studied early childhood education in college learned about the critical importance of play from all our professors and all our reading materials. Therefore, we’ve always known that it’s the primary vehicle by which preschoolers discover the world, develop empathy, acquire knowledge, and become enthusiastic life-long learners. That fact remains unchanged and undisputed.
What has changed in the past 20 years is government legislation in public education such as No Child Left Behind and Common Core. While those measures aimed to improve K-12 learning, they unintentionally hurt preschool learning by reducing opportunities for unstructured play. Today, politicians, parents, and school administrators expect preschools to prepare kids academically for kindergarten.
That, however, comes out a huge price with less social interaction, less exploration, less curiosity, less creativity, and less imaginative play. We are beginning to see the devastating effects of this with increasing rates of depression, anxiety, narcissism, and suicide among youngsters and teens. Play in the early years is essential for promoting kids who are strong and stable: physically, socially, emotionally, and psychologically. Early childhood educators have always known this but have been fighting an uphill battle against uninformed politicians and parents.
You may want to read my article entitled: “5 Preschool Activities That Parents Should Know Are a Waste of Time.” https://wehavekids.com/education/Choosing-a-Presch... Thanks for your question.