Independent play is an essential part of a child’s healthy development and academic success. The healthy learning environment provides opportunities for free play and exploration in a setting that helps children feel safe and encouraged to follow their interests.
Montessori ideology was introduced at the beginning of the 20th century by an Italian educator Maria Montessori. Although her ideas were considered radical back then, today, Montessori style learning is one of the most respected early childhood education approaches.
The pillars of Montessori learning are independent play and hands-on learning experiences. Montessori involves a child-centered ideology that encourages young learners to acquire knowledge independently, at their own pace.
Unlike traditional school settings where students listen passively, memorize facts, and take tests, Montessori education focuses on students’ activity. Young learners in Montessori education are encouraged to discover information for themselves through hands-on experiences.
Students in Montessori schools gain knowledge spontaneously, without pressure from their teachers. Teachers’ role is to model behavior, introduce new challenges, provide guidance, and assist students in the learning process.
Montessori teaching proposes that learning on free will (learning things of interest to children) helps toddlers develop their natural interests and use instincts to learn.
The emphasis in Montessori education is on social, emotional, and intellectual development along with the acquisition of academic and practical skills.
At the core of Montessori learning is the importance of play. Free and independent play helps children to use all their senses, make connections, and understand the world around them.
According to Montessori philosophy, experiential learning leads to a deeper understanding and boosts children’s cognitive skills. Hands-on learning helps kids develop language and literacy and allows them to learn from their mistakes.
The Montessori approach also emphasizes the importance of physical activity in learning. This is where our Rocking Rainbow Arch comes in! It is ideal for children ages 9 months (or when they start pulling themselves up) through 4 years old. Our unique design allows your child to safely climb over, slide down, crawl under, rock on and think outside the box while engaging in imaginative play.
Independent play benefits the child’s development on many levels. Research shows that free play encourages children to learn about their environment, express feelings, practice essential social and emotional skills, develop language and literacy, and master their motor skills.
Unstructured play promotes brain development, helps develop new neural connections in the brain and enhances its plasticity and flexibility. In other words, independent play sets the foundation for the young child’s brain development as their day-to-day experiences determine which brain connections will develop and last for life.
Montessori learning settings allow toddlers to safely take part in outdoor style play (indoors!) while engaging in imaginative play, practicing independence and responsibility, and thinking outside the box.
Independent play allows children to safely run around, slide down, climb over, rock, and spin, improving their balance, strength, and motor skills. It helps young kids explore cause and effect relationships, promotes problem-solving skills, teaches them to anticipate and predict outcomes, and fosters sensory exploration.
Through unstructured play, children begin to understand and adopt social rules and to resolve conflicts. It helps them develop empathy and practice emotional control.
Independent play in a safe environment encourages children to explore their senses, develop creativity, problem-solve, learn responsibility, and practice their other developing skills.
Hands-on experiences help toddlers express their thoughts and feelings, interact with other children and adults, develop language and literacy, practice communication, and cooperation.
Encouraging children to play on their own is an excellent way to foster independence and help them attain skill sets critical for life success.