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The Learning Ladder II

Home A reading and writing curriculum for Family Child Care Providers, Children and Families

Module 2: The Role of Play
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The Role of Play

Child playing with legos Family Child Care programs provide opportunities for children to play, explore their worlds, and practice concepts.

Below you will find a description of some of the choices children have for play in a family child care program, and a list of the concepts and skills they are mastering through play.

When a child is playing with play dough, he/she is:

  • using creativity and imagination
  • improving fine motor skill
  • developing the sense of touch

When babies play with stacking and nesting toys, they are:

  • learning about size and balance
  • practicing and developing motor control
  • experimenting with shape and color

When toddlers are playing with sand and water, they are:

  • learning about measuring and comparing
  • feeling relaxed, safe and comfortable
  • improving sensory awareness

When preschoolers are dressing up and pretending to cook in the housekeeping area, they are:

  • learning to understand the roles of mothers and fathers
  • practicing math and language skills
  • organizing and using ideas

When school aged children are playing basketball with a small group of children, they are:

  • learning to cooperate, share, plan and negotiate with other children
  • improving gross motor control and eye-hand coordination
  • learning how to be a team member
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