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Valuing Play
January 25, 2023
We are, essentially, stealing from children when they are forced to train for the future instead of allowing them to play in the now. Trust in play.
-Suzanne Axelsson
The American Academy of Pediatrics has outlined the many benefits of play, “Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength… As they master their world, play helps children develop new competencies that lead to enhanced confidence and the resiliency they will need to face future challenges… When play is allowed to be child driven, children practice decision-making skills, move at their own pace, discover their own areas of interest, and ultimately engage fully in the passions they wish to pursue. Ideally, much of play involves adults, but when play is controlled by adults, children acquiesce to adult rules and concerns and lose some of the benefits play offers them, particularly in developing creativity, leadership, and group skills… Perhaps above all, play is a simple joy that is a cherished part of childhood."

In Pursuing Bad Guys: Joining Children’s Quest for Clarity, Courage and CommunityDonna King writes, “Pretend play is children’s primary research method; it’s how, as individuals and groups, they live into and explore the ideas and feelings they find most pressing and captivating…The play is a window into children’s thinking and emotional landscape. Children’s pretending is rich with hints about what worries them; what frustrates them; what they long for; and what brings them joy. And that’s especially true when pretending allows the children to BECOME the badness.”

Speaking about ‘bad guy play,’ King notes, “It’s not just ‘permissible mischief.’ Pretending to be one way— in this case, defensive and aggressive—actually bolsters the children’s capacity to act the opposite way—open and welcoming.”
 
 

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Comments (2)

Displaying All 2 Comments
Francis Wardle · January 25, 2023
University of Phoenix/ Red Rocks Community College
Denver, Colorado, 80222, Colorado, United States


Wow - I meant the American Academy of Pediatrics (An interesting slip!)

Francis Wardle · January 25, 2023
University of Phoenix/ Red Rocks Community College
Denver, Colorado, 80222, Colorado, United States


I am glad that the American Academy of Play is supporting play for young children. But please don't use the term ALLOW; we need to encourage, support, scaffold and plain insist on the use of play! Allow is much too passive a term for something this important. Regarding the second article, while pretend play is important, ALL types of play are critical - physical, constructive, dramatic, and games with rules. Some kids are not ready for pretend play, and they should not be pushed.



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