How Role Play Helps Children Learn Better

All children love to role-play and can spend hours pretending to be doctors, superheroes, or police officers. While role-playing may seem silly or look like a simple game to adults, it has immense benefits for children’s mental and intellectual development.

Role-play is one of children’s natural ways of learning. It allows them to make meaning of the world around them through their imagination and stories.

By acting out different scenarios, children develop important higher-order skills such as problem-solving, self-expression, critical thinking, communication, and creativity. They develop empathy by putting themselves in someone else’s shoes and gain a new perspective and appreciation for the role they are playing.

Play is also a natural habitat of imagination and is vital to developing curiosity and creative intelligence. While playing, children use their imagination to find unique and novel solutions to complex problems that may otherwise seem overwhelming to them. Play is powerful and role-play is full of opportunities for children to develop lasting life-skills. As Albert Einstein said,

“Play is the highest form of research.”

Play and learning don’t happen in discrete pockets of time.

In schools, playtime is separate from learning time. Instead of looking at playing and learning as isolated activities, blending pretend play into everyday learning is an ideal way to synthesize knowledge and skills.

Imagine playing a ‘grocery shop’ scenario inside the classrooms, where children get to determine the prices of their entire inventory and tabulate the grocery bills for their customers. By doing so, they will not only learn math concepts but also understand the physics of weights and learn to operate simple weighing machines. It will also foster a collaborative environment as children play together, resolve conflicts, and develop positive relationships.

Unfortunately, playful learning has been replaced with instructions, guided practice, and drills inside the classrooms. Toys have been traded for workbooks, and play-based activities have been sidelined as expendable diversions. If we wish to prepare our children into socially equipped, and innovative thinkers of the future, we must return role play to their lives.

“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct.” — Carl Jung

Children need room and freedom to play freely to help build their intellect and future-ready skills. Play is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

At Uable, play is at the center of learning. Through our role-play activities, young minds are exposed to real-world scenarios and they get to imagine themselves in various situations that require creative and out of the box thinking. Something as simple as putting on a pretend astronaut suit or using household objects to explore scientific phenomena helps learn concepts of STEM and Arts through a creative approach.

It not only helps in building a deeper understanding of the concepts but also encourages self-directed and self-determined learning. This is what makes role-playing such an invaluable part of Uable’s pedagogy. We believe in the power of play and we wish more and more children get to experience learning while playing.

Why is it important for children to develop an entrepreneurial mindset?

The world always needs more doers and dreamers, tinkerers, and experimenters, who ideate and create new innovations that move humanity forward. One common trait among creators, makers, and innovators is their entrepreneurial mindset. As the old saying goes,

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for his lifetime.”

Having an entrepreneurial mindset helps people be better at whatever they choose to do. At Uable, we encourage learners to build an entrepreneurial mindset using role-play.

While not all children will go on to start their own business, learning to think like an entrepreneur has a really positive impact on the way they view the world around them. Entrepreneurial values such as imagination, leadership, creativity, and innovative thinking prepare them for the opportunities and challenges of the future.

According to Forbes, employers highly value future-ready skills in new graduates such as problem-solving, decision making, collaboration, and risk assessment, along with an ability to communicate effectively.

So, how do we go about building such skills in children? By giving them an opportunity to role-play and to use their imagination to ideate a solution to a problem at hand. When children learn by doing something, instead of reading about it, they take agency for their learning and build lasting behaviors that help them build future-ready skills. Role-play activities also help break down their learning barriers.

In our Entrepreneur program, we often see children who were once shy and unwilling to communicate their ideas, presenting their ideas confidently. And a few who found it difficult to express themselves in writing at the beginning of the program, writing down business proposals with conviction.

It is through play-based learning and keen observation, that young minds explore the world around them, learn to test their ideas, and build their intellect. Role-playing as an entrepreneur gives children room to imagine and innovate through creative play; to learn independence and self-reliance. It allows their minds to soar with innovative ideas and persevere to see their ideas come to fruition.

Children also experience a deep sense of camaraderie and connection with their peers who are a part of the same program. Our young Uable entrepreneurs connect with their peers across the country and together they solve challenges, learn new skills, and help each other achieve their goals. They not only engage with activities and discussions to produce original and valuable ideas for the program but also undertake projects that go beyond our sessions.

Our young Uablers definitely prove that it is never too early to develop an entrepreneurial mindset.

Let children experience the magic of play, peer and project-based learning at Uable.

The Importance Of Letting Your Kids Get Bored

Do you feel constantly pressured to keep your child entertained? If you do, you are not alone.

We are all living in an ‘on-demand’ world. Overstimulation is just a way of life for most of us, where we have incessant access to games, videos, and movies. Our attention spans are at an all-time low and our obsession with productivity is at an all-time high.

So, when there is so much to do, how can one get bored? That’s a question we often ask ourselves and our children. ‘Boredom’ gets a bad reputation. We think a better question we should be asking is, ‘Why should (or shouldn’t) we let our children get bored?’

Getting bored is an essential part of a healthy childhood. Before the world was digital, children had to rely on themselves for entertainment. Now kids lead action-packed lives with organized activities, supervised game time, and negligible time to just be by themselves. Wasting time is seen as a bad thing but it is not. Idle time ignites creative sparks.

Here are three reasons you shouldn’t step in when your child feels bored, and let ennui take over:

Boredom is the place where great ideas are born

When Sir Isaac Newton stumbled upon one of the greatest discoveries in the world, he wasn’t hard at work surrounded by books and mathematical equations. Instead, he was daydreaming. Had he not been sitting idle under the apple tree back in 1687, we wouldn’t have known gravity.

After this, he made it a point to regularly take out time to ‘do nothing’. That’s when he got most of his ideas and answers to complex problems.

Even the game of basketball was invented by a man trying to overcome the tedium of a cold winter day.

Those hours of sitting idle and wandering aimlessly around the house won’t hurt your children. In fact, it will spark their creativity and they will be bursting with original ideas using their imagination.

Boredom unlocks the imagination vault

Leave children to their own devices and don’t push a structured day on them. When children see they are responsible for their own amusement, they will be forced to think of ways that bring them joy. It could be painting, doodling, or even staring at the stars. It can open a door of possibilities.

It is also an opportunity to build their confidence. When kids try new things of their own volition, they learn to take risks and test their limits; and when they manage to choose and complete the activities successfully, it gives a huge boost to their self-esteem.

Boredom opens the doors for self-discovery

Can you imagine sitting idle with your thoughts for 15 minutes without the distraction of electronics, books, or even a companion? When life gets too busy, we forget to be still and let our minds wander. We even try to overschedule our day, so we don’t have to deal with ‘free time’.

The same happens to kids — when you structure their time too much, they won’t know what to do when they are free. Letting them sit idle with their thoughts helps them discover a lot about themselves. They will find clarity about their abilities and learn more about their desires. It is also a great boost for their mental health in the long term when they start looking at free time as a time to reflect and not something to dread.

Teaching Kids To Make The Best Of Boredom

Teaching kids to be responsible for their own amusement can seem overwhelming at first, especially if they are used to having their day planned out for them by someone else. You may need to step in as their ‘imagination coach’. Slowly, as they learn how to entertain themselves without the distraction of electronics or structured activities, it will get easier.

Allow your children the opportunity to get bored. Make time for unstructured play. Don’t pack their day into a schedule. Let them wander and wonder about whatever comes to their mind.

So next time when your child says “I’m bored”, the best thing you can do for them is do nothing.

Unpacking the National Education Policy 2020: A Shift from Marks to Holistic Development

For decades, people have questioned how relevant India’s education system is in the current times. Why is the focus on marks and moving on to the next grade instead of building future-ready skills in children? The National Education Policy 2020 (NEP) aims to free the children from this rat-race of marks and lay emphasis on their holistic development.

It aims to bring creativity and innovativeness to learning to prepare children for life outside the classroom and focus on building important skills such as collaboration, creative thinking, problem-solving, and logical reasoning, which have been neglected till now. NEP notes,

“Pedagogy must evolve to make education more experiential, holistic, integrated, inquiry-driven, discovery-oriented, learner-centred, discussion-based, flexible, and, of course, enjoyable.”

Here’s a quick look at how the NEP plans to change the world of learning:

Creativity — the cornerstone of learning

According to the new NEP,

“Education Policy lays particular emphasis on the development of the creative potential of each individual.

It is based on the principle that education must develop not only cognitive capacities — both the ‘foundational capacities ’of literacy and numeracy and ‘higher-order’ cognitive capacities, such as critical thinking and problem-solving — but also social, ethical, and emotional capacities and dispositions.”

Unfortunately, creativity has been misunderstood until now and has not been given its due value in schools. The new policy will do away with conventional teaching methods, and encourage teachers to stimulate children’s imagination.

One of the fundamental principles guiding the policy states the focus to be on “recognizing, identifying, and fostering the unique capabilities of each student, by sensitizing teachers as well as parents to promote each student’s holistic development in both academic and non-academic spheres.”

A multidisciplinary approach is in, rigidness is out

Students will now be much freer to choose the subjects they want to study and the rigid separation between arts, science or humanities will fade away.

This flexibility will give children the ability to choose their learning trajectories and programs, and thereby choose their own paths in life according to their unique talents and interests. They’ll be able to take up varied subjects such as Biology with Economics, Physics with Political Science, etc to explore what interests them.

This “unity and integrity of all knowledge” will also eliminate harmful hierarchies and silos between different areas of learning.

Focus on experiential learning

Nobody explains it better than Benjamin Franklin:

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

Just as you cannot master cooking by watching cooking videos alone, similarly children cannot absorb new concepts just by reading about them. Trying new things first-hand help children develop a better understanding of concepts. It gives them the room to explore, to make mistakes, and reflect on those experiences. It encourages them to ask questions like “why did this happen?”, “how can I do it better?”, “what if I didn’t do X and did Y?” and gives them a fresh perspective on learning.

Focus on building future ready-skills

Another revolutionary step taken by the NEP is to expose children to vocational education, so they can build job-ready skills. It is planning to introduce vocational training for crafts such as carpentry, electric work, metalwork, gardening, pottery making, etc for more than 50% of students of classes 6 to 12 by 2025.

Currently, the success criterion in school is good marks and grades; there is no effort to help children discover their passion and provide exposure to real-world demands. Vocational training will introduce children to real-world jobs, help them build job-specific skills, and foster the right attitude to appreciate the job role.

Assessments to focus on higher-order skills

Children will no longer only be evaluated by the teachers but also by themselves and their peers. Assessment will shift to a formative style, which encourages higher-order thinking skills, critical thinking, and conceptual clarity instead of rote-learning.

Progress cards will reflect the unique progress of each learner in the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains, instead of marks.

School exams will now be held only for 3 levels — Classes 3, 5, and 8. Board Exams will continue but will have fewer stakes in the overall assessment. They are also set to turn easier with a focus on holistic development and students will be given an opportunity to take them twice instead of once.

The Uable Way is the New Way of Learning

At Uable, creativity is the cornerstone of what we do. Multidisciplinary, experiential, role-play based & peer-learning approach is in our DNA. We believe each child has unique capabilities that can be nurtured through activity-driven learning, role-play, and discovery.

We truly believe that children need more learning playgrounds and fewer rigid classroomsOnce we free children from the antiquated ways of learning, they transform from mere consumers to creators and from mindless followers to leaders.

We couldn’t be happier to see that with the NEP 2020, the Uable way is the new way of learning.