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The longest established, best-read, free parenting magazine in the South.

ABC Magazine is the FREE local parenting magazine offering practical parenting advice to everyone with young children. From babies to big kids!

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 Recent Articles

The importance of role-play in Early Years

By | Education, play, Relationships
by Antonia Burton
Head of Lower School, Chinthurst School

Children love role-play! Acting out stories, playful manipulation of ideas and emotions, and interacting with each other in imaginary ways are essential for a child’s cognitive and social development. Over the last 75 years a number of theorists and researchers have identified the value of such imaginative play as a vital component to the normal development of a child.

Between the ages of one and a half and six, studies have consistently demonstrated that pretend play increases language usage and children’s awareness that their thoughts may be different from their friends. Role-play allows children to express positive and negative feelings and fosters divergent thinking, the ability to come up with many different ideas, story themes and symbols.

So how are these benefits harnessed in an Early Years setting?
Plenty of free unstructured play is essential. Children should have the space and time to initiate play spontaneously. It should arise from their own imagination without the direction of an adult and it encourages risk taking and creativity and helps the children to practise collaboration and decision making.

However, structured play, in the form of a themed play corner is invaluable in stimulating make believe games. An ‘airport’ or ‘doctor’s surgery’ enable children to choose and assign roles and work through any problems that arise. As pretend play progresses, children need to socialise and cooperate with peers and this helps them to learn to control impulses and respect the decisions of others.

Children’s communication and language skills also benefit hugely as they must collaborate and listen to each other as they role-play. Children will draw upon pictures built up in their minds from past experiences and recreate these scenes, helping them to solve problems and draw their own conclusions – so developing essential cognitive skills.

Taking on the roles of different characters encourages children to empathise with each other. They gain an understanding of different perspectives which develops their ability to relate to each other. Pretend play offers a safe place to act out real life situations. Children cope with worries by acting them out so role-play gives them a setting to work things through and help them to address their fears.

Moreover, the use of costumes and props in a theatrical way can help to improve a child’s gross and fine motor skills. From dressing themselves in a character’s costume to putting the props away when the game has finished, role-play builds hand/eye co-ordination as well as developing visual discrimination.

Children often interact with literacy and numeracy skills during pretend play. They may have to count things out as part of their character or ‘write’ on a notepad. Acting out a favourite story book can be an invaluable aid to comprehension skills too.

The introduction of drama teaching at the age of three and four can really boost the effectiveness of imaginative play and help children to develop soft skills and emotional intelligence. Drama gives children further opportunities to rehearse roles, characters and a broad spectrum of life situations helping them to explore ideas and feelings. Drama promotes self-esteem and gives children the confidence to present themselves in front of an ‘audience’, all whilst having great fun.

At home, a dressing up box, even if it is just hats and masks, can stimulate a child’s imagination and initiate fantastic role-play scenarios. It is important to let your children define objects for use and to allow them to be whatever they would like to be. The benefits really are amazing!

Chinthurst School is a leading co-educational school for pupils agedthree to 11 and is part of the Reigate Grammar School (RGS) family.

Kindergarten children benefit from a bright and spacious environment where their confidence and self-esteemare developed through role play and specialist drama teaching.

At 11, children proceed to a range of top independent and state schools and can take advantage of an early offer entrance arrangement to RGS in Year 5, should this be their chosen path.

rugbytots

Learning life lessons from rugby

By | children's health, Education, family, fun for children, Sport, Uncategorized
by Rebecca and Esther
Rugbytots Brighton & Worthing

We read it every day – the negative effects that too much screen time and television time are having on our children. In fact, only last month Brighton & Hove Independent published results of a survey1 stating that 80% of our children are failing to hit the Chief Medical Officer’s target of at least an hour of physical activity every day.
With technological advancements come social issues including mental health problems as we become a 24 hour society that can’t switch off. This means that children are being bombarded with information whilst becoming more socially disconnected – preferring instead to communicate via messaging apps and social media channels.

However, we are also living in an age where children have never had so many opportunities to try new things, have experiences, travel and learn life skills through their hobbies and interests. Although technology can be a distraction for parents and children, it is also the gateway to finding out what’s going on in your area such as sports, dance, arts and crafts classes. Parents can take advantage of taster classes and children can then decide which classes they want to take.

Sports such as rugby are built on teamwork and respect. Played from an early age it develops more than just strength and fitness. When you think of rugby it might conjure up images of burly men with cauliflower ears covered in mud – but there are so many fun variations and games for children, including tag rugby, which doesn’t have any tackling.

In a team sport everyone participates, and nobody is left out. Sports such as rugby also teach skills like kicking, passing and catching which are transferable life skills, valuable in all sports.

A skill that you wouldn’t normally expect to hear associated with rugby is creativity; this is something that we focus on at our rugby sessions and the strategic elements of the game mean children are introduced to problem solving from an early age. During games they have to constantly think about situation awareness and make quick decisions which, in turn, help increase mental agility and self-confidence.

Let’s look at the positive effects playing rugby can have on children:

Fun
Children learn how to enjoy sport, fitness and healthy competition with girls and boys from all backgrounds coming together to have fun.

Social
Rugby enables positive emotions, promotes bonding and builds friendships which in turn boost self-esteem and confidence.

Respect
Children are taught to respect teammates, coaches, opponents, referees and learn how to deal with healthy conflict.

Teamwork and sportsmanship
Children learn to make decisions that will benefit their peers plus gain essential social skills like team spirit, cooperation and sportsmanship.

Concentration
By learning the strategic elements of the game children’s concentration, memory and analytical skills are enhanced.

Physical
Rugby develops hand/eye co-ordination, works on fine and gross motor skill development, improves balance and promotes good listening skills.

Competition
Rugby promotes a sense of healthy competition and teaches children about winning and losing and the skills needed to cope with both.

Character building
Team sports increase confidence, self-respect and teach children how to conduct themselves in game situations, making them more self-aware.

Rebecca and Esther took over Rugbytots, Brighton & Worthing, which is aimed
at 2 to 7 year olds, in November 2018.
They are friends who were looking for
a new challenge since having children.
They have a real passion for working
with kids and getting them to be more
active whilst having lots of fun.
The Rugbytots franchise ticked all the boxes and they plan to further build on its success
by adding more weekend sessions and
taking Rugbytots into school curriculums,
after- school clubs and nurseries.
Click on www.rugbytots.co.uk to find out more.

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Every issue of ABC Magazine is packed full of local information and practical parenting advice to help you find what you need and where to buy it, ideas on what to do and where to go, where to find this and that – all child related and child friendly!

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