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Play: A Crucial and Necessary Element In Child Development

Earlier this week, I presented a parenting workshop on What Is Play and It’s importance in Child Development. I was very happy to find that many of the parents there valued “Play” and realized how essential it was to their child’s development. They felt play was good for their children and made them happy. Many of them focused on the physical aspects of play and how it moved their children’s bodies and unintentionally exercised them. But what they were really surprised to find was how it played a role in overall development.

In Early Childhood Development there are four corner stones that we like to make sure that we address and include in all curriculums across the board no matter what it is called or their emphasis is, be it Montessori, High Scope or the Creative curriculums. In all of them we want to make sure children develop physically, emotionally, socially and of course cognitively.  Play covers development in all of these areas simultaneously and effectively.

I mention this because it seems to be that now there’s this big push to have preschool be more like school, more academics and less play. I actually think it should be the other way around. School should be more like preschool where learning and fun are equal partners and a lot of creativity and discovery are also present. I feel that there would be a lot more learning going on. Students would retain and recall the information a lot more if fun were involved. They would be more engaged and interested and excited about learning and coming to school.

Somehow I think some people forget how much you learn with your body. How the richer you can make the experience the better the retention. By richness I mean involving as many senses as possible and all the parts of a person like creative expression and imagination along with their bodies.

Creativity and imagination are very important skills to develop that will help anyone young or old in school or out. It is why we appreciate the arts so much and cannot do without them. The great thing about these two skills is that they can assist us outside of the arts field. They can help us in business, as parents, as problem solvers and scientist in creating a better life and in all aspects of life.

Play helps to develop these two characteristics and such much more. It uses their bodies, emotions and minds simultaneously.  It helps them to define who they are and understand the world they live in. In addition to making children happy it is something that they are designed to do. It is innate and the blueprint for their growth and development. It is also great for adults too. So play on children, play on!!!

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