Has your child had enough unadulterated play? How many of us ask ourselves that question at the end of the day? Is our children’s memory bank full and over flowing of cellular memory from direct connection using all their senses in and through play? If you can hand on heart say your child has played, fully, deeply and developed a rich imagination then you are giving them the best foundation ever for school!
It is LOVE and PLAY that grows the brain.
A whole pile of rocks, tubes, wooden off cuts, blankets, any loose parts, and the children will literally play for a whole day IF we let them play uninterrupted by adult agendas. Play is the way children navigate the skills they need for life, not school, but life! If play unfolds freely, learning will happen naturally and authentically. It is the perfect foundation for getting a 'taste' not only for the sciences, but also for the emotional and social development.
In play we see social and emotional literacy developing in front of our eyes because the 'things', the loose parts, don't dictate what the children do with them. Lots of discussions will take place between the children, and the combination of their life experiences merge when play and creativity unfolds.
Play is programmed in the human genes.
Children need to play for their brains to grow to their full potential. They need to follow their own play patterns coded into their body and developing brain. The more simple the play object, the more complex the play. That is why loose parts are brilliant toys. Children make action happen with their whole serves. Their minds, hands, bodies work together to transform an object from something passive to something active and creative. How different it would be if they were inside, not moving and instead of ‘passive’ toys, using 'active' toys. The mind and the body would not get the work out it so badly needs. Passive toys give the neo cortex some gym, it’s the best workout for the imagination!
Retain the sacred bubble called PLAY.
We all know the power of playing for unlimited time with no interruption. Our role is to share what the children created and all the play benefits they gained from the long periods of rich uninterrupted play.
In play children follow their own interest. There is no role for the adult. No need for us to ensure we 'follow their interests'. The children are in the driver seat and very capable or navigating their own play. We need to trust their curiosity, we need to trust that they are capable of following their own impulses and inclinations. The only role we have is to ensure we have the environment right. An environment prepared to deliver a ‘feast for play’ and then we allow them the time and space to potter and tinker about.
It is in the sacred bubble of play where children roam that they can encounter bliss and magic.
We must protect the play rights of children. We must ensure children are given long periods of uninterrupted play. Where they can make and create, ‘sip and dine’ with joy and pleasure. Sally Jenkinson, Stuart Brown and Joseph Chilton Pearce all advocate for the child’s right to play freely. They have all written fantastic books that endorse the power of play!
Children's play today is under siege! We have the power to unite as teachers. Lets do our bit to save their play. At the end of the day ask the question, "Have they invested enough in rich full deposits of PLAY?". Let’s all say ‘YES to PLAY’!