projects, play, and papa in the preschool years



Father’s day is a great excuse to give and get bear hugs from the big guy, but it’s also a chance to reflect on the special role dad plays in the early years. In the earliest days of life, the first “safe place” away from mom is the arms of dad. This bond is further nurtured when fathers actively participate in caregiving, as well as taking up opportunities to interact and play, contributing positively to the separation process from the mother and healthy self-identity formation for the child.

Play of course, is often the domain that dads love to stake out as theirs, and one which Maple Bear actively promotes in early years learning. Perhaps unsurprisingly, approaches to play differ between mom and dad, contributing thus to different learning outcomes. Studies show that while moms tend to focus on imagination and idea based play, dads more often engage with activities and projects. While playtime with mom can help creative and cognitive skills, dad’s playtime style will enhance collaboration and interpersonal abilities.

Big fun with the big guy also tends to include more new ideas, risk taking and challenges than with mom, furthering ambitious and innovative approaches to tasks.

In the early years, when play is the research of children, we thus have a lot to be thankful for deeper benefits of the light hearted moments with dad.