A Letter About Play
“Play means… exploring, talking, thinking, trying, imagining, daydreaming, inventing, risk taking, giving, sharing, making choices, working, relaxing, challenging, turn taking, pausing, running, skipping, jumping, shouting, whispering, singing, making friends, being yourself, being someone else, role playing, acting, caring, negotiating, reading, writing, counting, measuring, trying things out, feeling, leading, following, problem solving, storytelling, building, laughing, smiling and LEARNING.”
In our world when it comes to education we have to defend play. When a parent walks into a classroom and see a child playing they want to say well they are not being taught anything they are just playing. What happened to our generation that we see “play” as meaningless? I want these parents to know play is the biggest avenue we have to meet a child that has no connections to a world of learning. When a child is playing a good teacher can co-explore the learning experiences with children. Together and alone they can provide Ideas, problem solve, and have conflict resolution. And with an organized classroom approach through play we teach children to keep their belongings organized, we help them to express knowledge of their worlds around them, and we can foster connections between home, school and their community. All these things can be done while the child is actively engaged during play.
We have found that play fosters brain development. Our brain is uniquely organizing, continually growing, its building connections between learning and inspiring positive emotions. If we want optimal brain growth children need to immersed in real-life hands on, meaningful activities. The best way we know to teach this is through role play (pretend play) by encouraging play exploration.
Play has been the focus of endless research studies in early childhood. The findings have proven the importance of play in children development and have been acknowledged repeatedly as a primary vehicle of conception development and problem solving.
In play children learn how to build, sculpt, paint, read, write, and most importantly how to interact socially and emotionally with people and things all around them. Without play there is no child.