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The Importance Of Sensory Play At Nursery School For Early Learner Development | Dubai Education Guide

Ladybird Nursery, the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) learning centre, emphasises the importance of sensory play by weaving fun and engaging activities into the curricula across its Jumeirah and Jumeirah Village circle campuses. Set to open at the start of the 2022-2023 academic year, Ladybird Nursery Al Barsha will provide a dedicated programme to support cognitive development, problem-solving skills, critical and creative thinking, gross and motor skills, and collaborative skills in early learners throughout daily class activities.

Sensory development plays a pivotal role in the growth of early learners, including their sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch; ensuring children’s minds are continuously stimulated. As children learn through exploration, curiosity, problem solving and creativity, it supports the development of nerve connections in a child’s brain and encourages the progressions of language and motor skills.

Children may sometimes experience a lack of sensory development, which has become increasingly common as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, due to increased distance learning and decreased engagement and on-campus activities.  These children may exhibit signs of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), which affects a child’s senses, restricting how the brain processes information. This will result in a lack of social cues, depletes collaborative learning skills, and reduces sensory functions.

Monica Valrani Montessori Directress and CEO of Ladybird Nursery says, “Sensory play is an integral part of a child’s development. By regularly participating in individual and group activities, early learners are helping brain development, which results in cognitive growth and a significant reduction of hypersensitivity. SPD can be prevented if caught early on, and parents should look for signs that can include a lack of social interactions with their peers and friends, hypersensitive or under sensitive to their environment, and a change in the child’s behaviour. At Ladybird Nursery, we incorporate the Montessori approach to our teaching methodology to ensure every child receives the appropriate attention and support based on their individual needs.”

Early learners can naturally develop language skills at nursery, through sensory play by learning through experiences in their environment, incorporating different ways to communicate their emotions, what they are doing and how they feel. Tactile play, which includes simple activities such as tying their shoes, writing the alphabets, pouring and mixing, will support the build of the small muscle groups and improves hand-eye coordination.

Activities such as crawling, jumping, running and throwing a ball will support the development of a child’s gross motor skills and large muscle groups. Parents must allow their little ones plenty of time to explore and practice these skills freely. Encouraging early learners to ask questions will increase their curiosity and enhance their problem-solving skills. Providing children with a safe space to question how things work, experiment and analysing results will support healthy cognitive growth.

Furthermore, sensory play reduces early learners’ stress and anxiety levels, enabling them to be calmer and composed when dealing with challenges; particularly important for a child’s development. Early learners can easily socialise with their friends and peers during group activities, presenting them the opportunity to communicate and collaborate on critical creative-thinking related tasks.

Ladybird Nursery expertly incorporates stimulating activities that engage children with real-world learning scenarios in a safe and supportive environment. This includes the KidzFit programme where children engage in free and messy play by kicking the ball, knocking down bowling pins or engaging in a healthy aerobics exercise, or building muscle through a fun game of hula-hoops. The Music n Move programme enables the little ones to invoke their inner dancers, and children learn coordination skills and develop spatial awareness, while also enhancing their understanding skills. It also boosts vocabulary and language skills, and helps to refine children’s motor skills, enabling them to focus and comprehend information better.

Children can let their imagination swim free during the Splish ‘n’ Splash programme, which offers early learners a custom-designed interactive splash pad that engages all five senses including touch, sound, movement, sight and balance. The junior master chefs will also learn about nutrition and food safety while refining their math, science, literacy, and motor skills in the Mini Chef programme. Cooking is a great way to introduce children to new foods and also promotes social skills, collaborative skills, mental and physical development. Tasks such as counting fruit or measuring ingredients like flour, and reading recipes will refine their math and comprehension skills while exciting them about healthy foods. Cooking also teaches children about being responsible. Showing early learners where the broom is kept or the right way to dispose of food scraps, teaches them about good hygiene and encourages them to clean the right way.

Ladybird Nursery also supports the development of language skills, creatively integrating French and Arabic programmes with the EYFS curriculum to provide a holistic experience for every child. The bespoke programmes are tailored to ignite early learners’ interest in the French and Arabic languages, through pictures books, songs, and gestures to develop and refine children’s vocabulary.

Ladybird Nursery Al Barsha isthe largest purpose-built campus for a post-pandemic climate in the MENA region. The single-story nursery features sensory play activities embedded within the design of the sustainable campus, including a sensory and organic garden, Splash Pad that offers enriching water play activities, a customised on-campus cycle track, Mud Kitchen, and an indoor music and language room. The state-of-the-art circulates fresh air daily into the facilities, which will result in lower carbon dioxide levels, impacting early learners’ physical and mental development. Incorporating the use of UV bulbs in the air-conditioning system, the Al Barsha campus safely and naturally eliminates 99.99% of airborne germs, making transmission of airborne viruses such as Covid-19 intolerable.

Registrations to Ladybird Nursery Al Barshaare open and parents can address inquiries to: [email protected]

For more information on Ladybird Nursery’s sensory play activities, visit https://ladybirdnursery.ae/

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