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How can you include more play into the school day?

Be confident and clear in your understanding of the benefits of play. Plan and promote play in as many ways as possible.

Including play in your day provides unlimited benefits to creating a positive atmosphere in the classroom.
Natural play opens the door to problem solving and social skills. As teachers, if we can think of how we can utilise the benefits of play into the curriculum, children are more likely to engage and develop skills and hopefully build a positive classroom atmosphere.
Play based activities provide an outlet that allows children to develop their imagination, physical, cognitive and emotional skills. Play stimulates the brain and offers an exceptional opportunity for a teacher and student to connect.
Play allows for children to practise real life skills and develop a sense of mastery, conquering their fears through role-play.

To provide more spontaneous play experiences allows time for children to discover their own areas of interest, work in groups, negotiate, move at their own pace and engage with others.
As classrooms become more diverse with a wide range of individual needs, play offers a natural form of communication for both students and teachers. It is an essential component of their education especially for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or other neurological conditions. It is an outlet for children to acquire skills to help them in other domains such as communication (expressive & receptive), reciprocity (turn taking) and sensory processing.
It can be extremely challenging to work on play skills with a child on the spectrum who is socially unresponsive, non-verbal and unwilling or unable to participate in social play but offering opportunities to explore and investigate with manipulative objects that are familiar to the child will open the door to more successful connections and growth.
Play is a powerful way to reach a child. If play is an integral component of every child’s daily educational and home life then we are providing the optimum conditions for a child to move up the developmental ladder.

Mastrangelo, S. 2009. Teaching Exceptional Children, Vol 1, pp. 34-44.