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Supporting physical development in early childhood
Supporting physical development in early childhood

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3.3 Summary of the role of play in children’s development and learning

Early years practitioners and parents need to ensure children have a broad range of play opportunities. A good balance of child-initiated play and adult-directed activity can extend the movement that children experience. Through play, children can develop fundamental movement skills without any need to learn these skills in isolation.

Research emphasises the importance of communication, self-esteem and positive social relationships in children’s mental health and wellbeing and in developing their capacity to become effective learners (Payler et al., 2017). There is little doubt that physical play is essential for young children, yet, in the next sections you will look at two types of physical play that can make parents and practitioners a little anxious.