While it is important that teachers and parents are always supervising children’s learning and play, it is also vital that adults encourage children to learn and play independently. There are many benefits to encouraging independent learning and play, for example it helps children to think creatively, it encourages curiosity and it promotes children to make more meaningful discoveries. As well as this, encouraging (supervised) independence in children from a young age helps them to grow up to be more independent, confident and self-assured adults.
Within the education profession the Minimally Invasive Education (MIE) way of teaching has gained popularity with its ability to encourage children to learn independently but under the supervision of a teacher at all times. Although this form of learning encourages children to find out answers by themselves, the teacher still plays an important role within the learning process as they need to ask the right types of questions that enable children to think and discover answers for themselves. Within the classroom environment this can be very effective in sparking children’s natural curiosity and can lead them to making much more meaningful and memorable discoveries than if they had simply been told or guided to the answer.
Independent learning can also be encouraged in the playground. Installing the right type of playground equipment will help children to learn, create and play at the same time. Our Kitcamp equipment, for example, has been designed to encourage independent learning within the playground. Kitcamp combines all the benefits of children’s love of playing with a simple cardboard box, the creativity of original Lego and children’s desire to build dens to create a playground equipment that inspires children’s imaginations and enables them to create their own play environment without the hands-on supervision of adults.
Kitcamp is weather proof and made from chemical-free materials that provides a safe outdoor environment in which children can learn through play. Kitcamp is made up of separate pieces that can be fitted together in a range of ways so that children can create their own play area using their imaginations and trial and error – a bit like a life size version of Lego. Young children will be able to work together to build basic structures, while older children will be able to organise themselves into building more complex play environments.
The benefits of Kitcamp is that it combines independent play with learning using limited playground space. Children can experiment with different ideas and make changes as they discover what works and what doesn’t. As well as this, Kitcamp encourages children to think independently as there are no adults to tell them the right or wrong way of building the play area.
Once playtime is over the skills children have learnt while playing with the Kitcamp equipment can be easily transferred into the classroom. Children will have learnt how to think independently, as well as to problem solve, which will make it easier for them to learn new topics and prepare for school tests.