The Importance of Learning Through Play

Georgina Durrant is a private tutor for children with special educational needs and the author of ‘100 Ways Your Child Can Learn Through Play’. Here she talks about the importance of play and how families can use it to help children develop new skills.

“Over the course of the pandemic there’s been a lot of concern over children, in particular those with Special Educational Needs, missing out academically and whilst this may be true, I strongly believe that we need also to focus on the fact that children have also missed out on play. Playing with friends, playing outside, playing with grandparents, playing at their friend’s house…the list goes on. And whilst play might be seen as something trivial it’s actually imperative for children’s well-being and their development of important skills. I’d go as far as saying that for young children, play is learning.

Play is everything, it’s squishing play dough and in turn developing those important fine motor skills that help them learn how to write. It’s walking and balancing on that fallen log in the park and learning how to take risks and finesse their gross motor skills. And it’s falling out with a friend over  who has the best sequins for their craft and learning those really important social skills and language/communication skills.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Georgina Durrant, Founder, The SEN Resources Blog

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

I’m Georgina, I’m a mum of two little ones under 6 and a former teacher/Special Educational Needs Coordinator. I now run The SEN Resources Blog which is a site for parents and teachers of children with Special Educational Needs. My website provides advice, recommended resources, learning activities and (most recently) home learning videos for those who are now home schooling due to the school closures.

What are your children’s favourite books?

My eldest’s favourite book is Captain Flinn and The Pirate Dinosaurs. He mostly loves non-fiction books so we were delighted when one of his friends bought him this book and it became such a hit. It felt like when we were reading these books together that we’d suddenly made the jump from toddler books into more grown-up childrens books. He loves that they are a bit scary…and obviously that they include dinosaurs!

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My Brother Otto by Meg Raby & Elisa Pallmer

Piper Crow is a little bird with a very special brother called Otto. Otto is on the autism spectrum which means that he sees the world a little differently, and sometimes other people don’t understand him.

This beautifully illustrated story follows a day in the life of the two siblings as they face new challenges together.

We learn that Otto loves the colour yellow. In fact, he loves yellow so much that he needs everything to be yellow – from his clothes and his toys right through to his drinks and his food. When things aren’t yellow, Otto is very unhappy. Otto likes to spin in circles, go extra high on the swings and hold his hands over his ears when things get too loud. Piper also tells us that Otto is non-verbal, so he uses a tablet to communicate.

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