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Learning through small world
dramatic play

Small world dramatic play is a type of imaginative role-play which makes use of active learning which focuses the responsibility of learning on learner. By using play materials and toys, children can let their imagination run free by substituting real world items with toys and by using sounds, words, facial expressions and actions to construct a story or make-believe scenario. It allows children to explore a fantasy world of their own creation which enables them to be creative and spontaneous.


Children can express themselves through the free exploration of language, feelings, and the observations they make when learning about themselves and others. This will also help them develop an awareness of the feelings and needs of others, thus learning to communicate feelings and emotions better.


Painting allows children to think with an open mind and informally learn about mixing and exploring colours. Playing with dough offers children freedom to mould, create and shape to their heart's content. Playing with paint and dough are creative activities which help the brain to develop. The right side of the brain is used for emotional and creative responses, while the left side of the brain focuses on analytical processes and logic. Children benefit by using both sides of their brain. By stimulating the creative side of the brain, playing with paint and dough helps make the connection between the two sides which is how we reach our full potential.


The early years in children's education should be in a setting where all their senses are engaged and stimulated. Parents and caregivers should value and plan for the development of creativity, originality and expressiveness. Emphasis should always be placed on the process and not the finished product.


There are rich learning opportunities for children in many types of play, but learning can only happen when they are fond of the materials they are playing with. Small children, for example, tend to be drawn to basic natural materials like sand, water, beans and rice. They are motivated to play by the pleasure and joy in handling these materials. Children respond to these materials through their senses; it is how they learn about the world. They pat, grab, smell and manipulate it, occasionally for long stretches of time, enjoying the tactile experience. We must remember to build on the children's own play, and not direct operations from the outside.


After setting some basic housekeeping rules, like cleaning up as we go along and not putting items into their mouths, we should sit back and let the child play with it their way, with our only input being in the form of questions and pointers to facilitate their enquiries and to nudge them towards discovery.