Parents at a South Belfast nursery school have been urged to ‘make time for play time’ in order to help with the emotional and social needs of their children.

The parents at Arellian Nursery School in Sandy Row were at a seminar hosted by the Belfast Education and Library Board’s Our Shared Vision (OSV) Project at the Richview Regeneration Centre last week, which explored practical ideas for educating children through play.

The OSV project provides a range of support and resources including parenting courses, parent and child activities, accredited training, health and wellbeing programmes and one-to-one support.

Co-ordinator Joanne Sweeney said it was important due to parents being the main educators in a child’s life.

“The workshops were aimed at getting parents to remember their own experiences of play and explore ideas to use with their own children. The vast majority of a child’s early learning takes place in the home environment and play is one of the most effective way of developing a child’s learning,” she said.  “Play is an essential part of growing up and most of the ideas generated were simple and inexpensive. Going to the park, making a garage out of a shoebox, dressing up – simple ideas that allow children to test theories, experiment, express themselves and explore feelings.

“Play can help language development, increase self-esteem, feed their imagination – the list is endless.”