At Sandy Spring Friends Preschool, students are offered daily free play opportunities, both indoors and outdoors.
The value of play is emotional, physical, cognitive, and social. Emotionally, free-play acts as a medium for expressing thoughts and feelings. Play offers a risk-free environment that enables children to work through any stresses they may have while increasing their well-being and self-esteem. These play times, especially dramatic play, provide a venue in which children can act out issues from the outside world with their peers, including issues that confuse and/or upset them or bring them joy.
Physically, play enhances both fine and gross motor development, allows children to test the limitations of their bodies, and improves self-assurance in physical abilities.
Cognitively, play allows for the development of language and for creative thinking that promotes problem-solving and concept development.
Socially, play aids in the beginning of the decentering process that is developmentally appropriate for three-year-olds and four-year-olds.
It allows children to practice social patterns while encouraging social interactions, social respect, and responsibility. Over the course of the year, students engage less in singular and parallel play and become more interactive and collaborative with classmates.