Sally Thornley is a PTUK Accredited Play Therapist. Play is a child’s natural form of self-expression. Play is psychologically beneficial to all children as it assists the release of opioids and oxytocin our ‘feel good’ hormones. The release of these hormones helps children to reduce their own anxiety levels and feel safe and secure. As children often do not have the words to communicate their thoughts and feelings, play therapists are trained to use play as a means of understanding and communicating with them.
Play therapy aims to help children to understand and manage their emotions better. If a child does not feel happy and safe this can act as a barrier to their learning. Play Therapy differs from conventional play, the child is free to choose what to explore and how to do so within safe limits and boundaries. Play Therapy therefore also benefits those children whose play is seen as solitary or repetitive. The ability to play with curiosity provides children with the capacity to engage with learning. If this ability is nurtured, children feel happier and more confident thus enabling them to be more receptive to the teaching and learning that takes place in school.
How Play Therapy can help children in Getting Ready For Learning
For children play is a natural form of communication as often they do not have the words to describe their thoughts, feelings or experiences. Play Therapy helps children who are struggling with social and emotional difficulties to cope with their feelings and emotions in a safe and constructive way. If children do not feel happy and safe this may act as a barrier to their learning. The capacity to play with curiosity and creativity provides children with the capacity to engage with their learning. If this ability is nurtured, the child becomes happier, confident and more fulfilled enabling them to be more receptive to the teaching and learning that takes place in school.