When I tell people I teach preschool for a living some reply, “What a great job. You get to play with children all day.”
My response? “You betcha.”
Play is not to be trivialized and is largely misunderstood. For young, capable and developing minds, play is serious business.
Adrian Voce author of the book, Policy for Play reminds readers in this extract that play for children is instinctual and imperative and being given the freedom and appropriate space to do so is their right.
In this adapted extract from Policy for Play: responding to children’s forgotten right, Adrian Voce summarises the importance of play and the barriers to its full enjoyment that modern children face. This extract was first published on the Toy Industries of Europe’s Importance of Play website.
While the precise nature of play remains elusive and indefinable, several academic disciplines – from evolutionary biology to developmental and depth psychology and the emergent neurosciences – each agree in their different ways that children’s play is central to who and what we are. It seems clear from these various studies that playing has a vitally important role, both in individual development and in human evolution, but that its primary purpose is simply to be enjoyed.
The great play scholar Brian Sutton-Smith famously said, ‘the opposite of play isn’t work, it’s depression’; the act of playing brings about ‘renewed belief in the worthwhileness…
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Play is so important. It’s an absolute travesty how schools are taking play time away when it’s such a critical component of development.