One of my subjects that I am studying is called pedagogy and play and as a part of the subject I’ve been required to do lots of reading on the subject of play. It’s so exciting to me that after all these years of having strong opinions about play there is actually evidence that supports my views.
I’ve always had the belief that play stops way too soon in life and that is not recognized as a healthy part of being human. I’ve seen a growing trend these days for children younger then preschool age being taught academic skills as the marketing machine attempts to put pressure on parents for their child to perform.
This saddens me, as so much is learnt through the process of play and it’s where the child is in control and a love for learning can be cultivated. Play promote’s innovation, creativity, exploration and curiosity and all these things are ingredience for effective learning.
When children play imagination games and partake in story telling then this is the beginnings of literacy. When children play, they learn problem solving skills which helps a lot when it comes to numeracy.
Too often these days play is underestimated and regarded as unimportant. So many unrealistic pressures are being put on children to perform and please tell me, when did academic success become the most important thing in life? Don’t get me wrong academic success is a good thing to achieve and should be encouraged but I’m urging all that we take a balanced approach.
I feel that if we lose our playtime that unnecessary stress will be suffered as children try to keep up with unrealistic expectations. Why do we expect children to be good at everything? Are you good at everything? Yes numeracy and literacy are important and should be held in high regard but not at the sacrifice of play and other creative subjects.
Much discussion has been made over the NAPLAN test and concerns that have been expressed are, the risk of schools narrowing their curriculum just to get the top scores and as a result classes that have to do with creative arts and sciences get less attention.
If I was at school today, how would I fair? I am that creative kid who liked/likes to paint. I was that kid who knew all the songs on the radio and had an awesome knowledge about all the rock stars. As my late mum would say “If only you knew your times tables like you know the top 10 on Countdown” I was that kid who would look strange to the niehbours as I carried a Frisbee around pretending it was a steering wheel. What would happen if I was not allowed to be that kid who had the freedom to imagine, be creative, laugh and make pretend cakes? What would happen if massive pressure was put on me to perform and be something that I am not?
I advocate, let the children play!!!!
Here is an interesting lecture about play is more than fun it goes for nearly half an hour so only watch it if you have the time and desire.