Watching a child at play is one of the most wonderful joys that a parent can experience. The happiness in their smiles and the curiosity in their eyes are a beautiful reminder of the gift of life. When children get into costumes and pick up props, they explore a whole world of possibilities. When their bare feet touch the grass and run free on the playground, they begin a journey of discovery. When they experiment with colors and shapes, they can bring life to their ideas on the canvas of their choice.
Situated inside Ayala, Alabang Village in Muntinlupa is The Learning Child School which is managed by founder and directress Mary Anne Alfonso. For the past 43 years, Alfonso has been working with her faculty and staff to provide children with learning experiences that infuse play at every opportunity.
“One of the ways children discover the world is through play,” says Alfonso, whose students fondly call her “Teacher Anne”. “When they play, they learn to create, imagine, and interact with different people. At this stage of their development, play is very important because it helps our children grow.”
Learning through play For toddlers or preschoolers, play can be a good introduction to school and to learning. Because it is innate in children, play kindles a child’s imagination and provides him with an opportunity to experience different situations and adapt to new environments. Thus, The Learning Child’s preschool program was designed to provide the child with opportunities for both creative playtime and active playtime. During creative play, the focus is on nurturing the imagination with stories that allow them to imagine a different world that is full of life and every bit of the world they dream of.
Maan Yee, who teaches Nursery class at The Learning Child, incorporates play in her classroom activities. When the children choose to be veterinarians, a vet’s office or clinic is set up—complete with pet dishes, a doctor’s kit, stuffed animals, clip boards, dog treats, and pet cages - and with the children dressed in a white coat or scrub suit. Stepping into a specific role provides the children with an opportunity to tackle unique puzzles or challenges.
When teaching them about their community, the students re-create scenes at a restaurant, bakery, or an airport, giving them a fun way to learn about the topic for the day, while discovering how the ‘real world’ works.