Learning by Living: The Importance of Free Play at Roong Aroon School
By Robin Martin, Scholar of Corporate Communications Department, Roong Aroon School Foundation
At Roong Aroon School, the kindergarten programs have been designed explicitly with the holistic and developmental needs of children in mind. Recognizing that parents and other adults may forget at times to see the world from the child’s perspective, both of RA’s kindergarten programs remind teachers as well as parents about understanding the value of free play. When teachers observe students, they notice how each student tries many ways to play with the same toys in a different way each time.
As the RA-English Program leader Teacher Gift points out: Children are testing their own hypotheses about what each object can do or be, to help them understand the quality of each object in its relation to the child’s current purpose. At the same time, they are learning to negotiate through interactions with friends.
Playing and Learning Together
For KG3 students (ages 5-6), it is their third year in school, and they quickly learn about all the new toys and how to build things that resemble their real world, within their own imaginations. For KG1 and KG2 students (ages 3 to 5), they gain confidence to play with more children and to try new things as the year moves on.
Sometimes, a child may add on to another child’s creation, with slow moves and eye contact that show how they recognize the other’s space or notice their friends’ creativity, even before they have the words to tell them.