How to Promote opportunities for ICT in Role Play
Understanding the Importance of Role Play
Role play helps children make sense of the world. Therefore, it must also reflect the technological world in which we all live in. If well-planned, it can encourage cooperative play and gives the children opportunities to use language, develop literacy and numeracy skills. Incorporating ICT into role play can give children the confidence they need to use new ICT tools with which they are familiar with and this helps even those who might otherwise be reluctant to do so.
When planning role play, it is important to consider what technology the children have at home but to understand whether the children are allowed to use the technology and for what purpose.
Important things to consider when planning role play with ICT includes:
- As an early childhood teacher, that you value and understand these developing competencies in ICT – this will help you to plan for challenging and stimulating role play with clear learning intentions that build on what the children already know and do.
- Planning will be informed by discussions with other teachers and parents and by ongoing observations and assessments of the children.
- Develop a clear understanding of children’s ICT competencies, in particular in relation to the vast range of technologies with which children come into contact.
- Appreciate the links between home use of ICT and children’s ICT competencies in order to further develop competencies in the early childhood setting.
We all develop our competencies in ICT differently due to access we have to ICTs at home. If you are to understand these competencies in ICT you will also need to:
- Ask parents and carers more than just what ICT is available at home.
- Ascertain what access children have had to ICT devices.
- Understand the nature of ICT activities children have had at home.
So when you start to plan to use ICT in role plays it is best that you consider:
- The life experiences and knowledge of children;
- If the children will be involved in the setting up of the role play and what will they do;
- What the attitudes of the adults involved the role play will be;
- What spaces you have available;
- Will it be indoors or outdoors?
- How much time is available for the setting’s daily routine?
- Is there the opportunity for the role play to develop over time?
- The quality and appropriateness of the resources.
Reasons why Role Play is Important
There are many benefits of role playing for early childhood. Role playing is fundamental in enhancing skills for healthy development. It is not only fun but using imagination can improve creativity and promotes better performance in school. The importance of role play in early childhood education has a lasting impact on learning throughout a child's life.
To answer the question ‘what is role play in early childhood education’, it is to do with developing strong problem-solving approaches in children when dealing with issues, it allows them to take up characters out of real life, and in terms of technology use, it helps them make sense of the world, and therefore, must reflect the technological world in which we live.
Let’s take a closer look at the importance of role play in early childhood education.
Encourages Creativity and Imagination
Research shows that a child’s capacity for cognitive flexibility and creativity are linked to playing. Playing therefore, helps them exercise their brain and trains it to practice using imagination at an early stage.
Why is this important? This is great for problem-solving not only in the present, but also in the future. For example, later in life they will use their imagination to enjoy a good book etc.
Enrich Language and Enhance Communication Skills
My young daughter is very quick to pick up new words. All young children are like this so coupling that with a character they love will word wonders for them. As a result of their new vocabulary, they will gain confidence with their communication and will learn to convey messages by picking their words carefully. This also helps them to learn to listen and this can be transferred to times when they are learning to read and write.
Develop Social and Emotional Skills
Role playing involves socially interacting with other children and they typically experiment with different roles and characters they would like to be. During the course of this process, role playing, therefore:
- Helps them to empathise with someone else and understand why these characters or people do what they do. They can relate to their emotions and gain control over their behaviour.
- Helps your child learn conflict resolution. For example, arguments may occur during role playing, however, this is great for learning about teamwork.
- It is a good stress reliever and it has a soothing effect on a child.
Enhances Physical Development
Yes, believe it. They also gain a lot physically when role playing. They run around, climb ladders or even applying make-up. Think of all those fine motor skills development!
What is role play in early childhood education? It is about you as the early childhood teacher encouraging cooperative play and opportunities to develop language, literacy, and numeracy skills to learn without failure. This is where the importance of role play in early childhood education lies today.