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How Does Play Contribute to Academic Readiness?

Angie Neal, MS, CCC-SLP

June 1, 2023

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Question

How does play contribute to academic readiness?

Answer

Play is a powerful tool for skill development and can be used as an intervention to enhance academic readiness, particularly in children aged three to six. Research shows that schools and childcare centers that incorporate a combination of instruction, free play, and guided play have significantly better outcomes in literacy, motor skills, and social-emotional development. In contrast, environments with limited play opportunities and a focus on rote learning exhibit lower learning outcomes.

Play contributes to language development by enhancing phonological awareness, expanding vocabulary, practicing syntax, and building background knowledge. It also promotes the development of cognitive skills such as classification, reasoning, and problem-solving. Additionally, play fosters social interaction, cooperation, conflict resolution, and understanding others' perspectives. Recognizing the importance of play, the American Academy of Pediatrics highlights its role in cultivating problem-solving abilities, collaboration, and creativity, which ultimately contribute to the development of executive function and academic readiness.

This Ask the Expert is an edited excerpt from the course The Impact of Tech on Development and Academic Readinesspresented by Angie Neal, MS, CCC-SLP.


angie neal

Angie Neal, MS, CCC-SLP

Angie Neal is the Speech-Language Pathology Consultant at the South Carolina State Department of Education, a member of ASHA's School Issues Advisory Board, a graduate of ASHA’s inaugural School-Based Leadership Development Program, a board member with the State Education Agency Communication Disabilities Council, published author, a LETRS facilitator for South Carolina, previous adjunct faculty for the University of South Carolina, and previous board member for the South Carolina International Dyslexia Association. Mrs. Neal is a frequent presenter on a variety of topics such as cultural and linguistic diversity, language and literacy, remediation of /r/, and pragmatics. 


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