Fredrich Froebel (1782-1852) a German educator who developed the Kindergarten or children's garden is also considered to be the inventor of the Play way Method of education as well. The aim of Froebel was to introduce the spirit of play in educational institutions. He believed and advocated that the best way to learn for a child was through the medium of guided play in a friendly natural environment.
Froebel’s greatest contributions to early childhood education was realizing that play was a means by which children externalized their inner nature. The habit of imitating adults during playing was the manner by which children learnt about the ways of the world. So he believed by incorporating play to educate the young children was the best way to utilize their natural abilities and teach them skills based on their propensities. Froebel believed that mothers and Kindergarten teachers must therefore be carefully educated about the child's nature, inclination and stages of development.
The school education system of the 21st century is greatly indebted to philosophers, pioneer educationists like Froebel and his mentor Pestallozzi for steering away the act of imparting education from being a tutor centric activity to a learner centric one. As a result all present day Nursery Teacher Training programs train the would-be- teachers following the principles of the Play way Method.
The teacher training institutes that offer Montessori Course or
pre primary teacher training, they have included the Play-way method in their course curriculum. It is mandatory for aspiring pre and primary teachers and Montessori teachers to internalize the importance of educating the very young students by following the Play-way principles.
Significance of Play in Education
The essence of childhood is to have endless opportunity for play. A child is happiest when engrossed in play and play can happen in different forms – imitation of family members, to playing with toys, or playing tag, hide seek or simply running about in groups. Play helps children to improve their motor skills, enhance their power of imagination and creativity.
Froebel, Madam Montessori, all realized that it made sense to use play as a means of educating children.
All Nursery Teacher training as well as Pre and Primary teacher training courses nowadays train its candidates in the Montessori Method also. The montessori course advocates the method of educating children through activities which keep children creatively engaged in a learning conducive happy environment.
In fact all modern methods of teaching from Kindergarten to Montessori to Heuristic method, to Project method including craft based education are efforts in incorporating the element of play in education.
By introducing Play in education teachers ensure that learning becomes an eagerly sought after involvement on the part of the students. We need to keep in perspective that an activity done in a spirit of fun is not tedious and students not only learn better but also retain it better.
Under Play-way Method, children are taught difficult concepts through the use of specific tools or “gifts” which are often simple everyday objects that can be manipulated to create new objects. It is an excellent way to improve young students’ creative skills. Hence a nursery or primary level teacher who has undertaken a Montessori Course or a Pre Primary Teacher Training course must make proper use of play in educating her young pupils.