The importance of sensory play at nursery
Let’s look at why sensory play is so important for young children’s brain development and shine a spotlight on the dedicated sensory processing programme at Ladybird Nursery Al Barsha.
Sensory play keeps young children’s minds continuously stimulated and encourages them to engage their senses fully. It helps to make sure their sensory processing for sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch develops properly. As kids learn through exploration, curiosity, problem solving and creativity, they develop more nerve connections in their brain, which benefits their language skills, motor skills and overall ability to process their senses.
Gross and fine motor skills
Activities such as crawling, jumping, running and throwing a ball support the development of a child’s gross motor skills and large muscle groups. Little ones do best when they are allowed plenty of time to explore and practise these skills freely. Tactile play, which includes simple activities such as tying their shoes, writing the alphabet or pouring and mixing, helps kids to build up fine control over a variety of small muscle groups and improve their hand-eye coordination.
Encouraging little kids to ask questions is a great way to increase their curiosity and enhance their problem-solving skills. Providing children with a safe space to question how things work, experiment as they see fit, and analyse the results, supports healthy cognitive growth.
Young kids often develop language skills naturally through sensory play at nursery. They do this by
experiencing their environment, developing different ways to communicate their emotions, what they are doing and how they feel.
Lowering anxiety levels
Sensory play can also reduce stress and anxiety levels in young kids, allowing them to regulate their feelings better. This means they will be calmer and more composed when navigating challenges, which is a particularly important skill in a child’s development!
Social skills and collaboration
Sensory play also means early learners can easily socialise with their friends or peers during group activities, giving them a natural opportunity to communicate and collaborate on creative or critical thinking tasks.
SENSORY PROCESSING DISORDER
Children may sometimes experience a lack of sensory development, which has become more and more common as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This has happened because of increased distance learning and less in-person activities and social interactions. Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) affects a child’s senses, restricting or changing how the brain processes information. This can result in a wide range of symptoms, such as a lack of social cues, less collaborative learning skills, and reduced or overloaded sensory functions. Parents should look for signs such as a lack of social interactions with kids their own age, hypersensitivity or under-sensitivity to their environment, or a marked change in a child’s behaviour, stress levels or mood under different sensory circumstances. This can look like an overreaction to sounds, clothes, food textures etc.
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
Sometimes this disorder can be prevented if caught early on and in most cases it can be improved with sensory play. Monica Valrani, Montessori Directress and CEO of Ladybird Nursery, says, “Sensory play is an integral part of a child’s ongoing development. By regularly participating in individual and group activities, young children are helping brain development, which can improve how they process their senses and significantly reduce hypersensitivity.”
Ladybird Nursery offers creative sensory play activities to support the development of the whole child and combat potential Sensory Processing Disorder caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. 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 fine motor skills, as well as collaborative skills in nursery-age children. Let’s take a look at some of these activities.
The KidzFit programme encourages children to engage in free and messy play, by kicking a ball, knocking down bowling pins, engaging in some fun aerobic exercise, or building muscle through an exciting game of hula-hoops.
Music n Move
The Music n Move programme enables little ones to explore their inner dancer, learning coordination skills and spatial awareness. It also boosts kids’ motor skills, and encourages children to focus and comprehend information better.
Splish ‘n’ Splash
Children can let their imagination swim free during the Splish ‘n’ Splash programme, which offers kids a chance to play with an interactive splash pad that engages all five senses, using touch, sound, movement, sight and balance.
Little master chefs will also learn about nutrition and food safety while refining their maths, 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 and mental and physical development. Tasks such as counting fruit or measuring ingredients like flour will refine their maths and comprehension skills. 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 nursery 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 which gently develop and refine children’s vocabulary.
A PURPOSE-BUILT CAMPUS
Ladybird Nursery Al Barsha is the 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. These include a sensory and organic garden, water play activities, a customised on-campus cycle track, Mud Kitchen, and an indoor music and language room. Incorporating the use of UV bulbs in the air-conditioning system, the Al Barsha campus safely and naturally eliminates 99.99% of airborne germs, protecting against the transmission of airborne viruses such as Covid-19, so you can feel safe sending your little ones off for a day of exciting sensory play at nursery!
Registration for Ladybird Nursery Al Barsha is open and they can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org