Kyle plays with blocks and builds a castle. Tony and Victoria play fire station and pretend to be fire fighters.
However, even those children who are fortunate enough to have abundant available resources and who live in relative peace may not be receiving the full benefits of play.
Many of these children are being raised in an increasingly hurried and pressured style that may limit the protective benefits they would gain from child-driven play. Because every child deserves the opportunity to develop to their unique potential, child advocates must consider all factors that interfere with optimal development and press for circumstances that allow each child to fully reap the advantages associated with play.
Those forces that prevent children in poverty and the working class from benefiting fully from play deserve full, even urgent, attention, and will be addressed in a future document.
These guidelines were written in response to the multiple forces that challenge play. The overriding premise is that play or some available free time in the case of older children and adolescents is essential to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth.
Play is important to healthy brain development. Play allows children to create and explore a world they can master, conquering their fears while practicing adult roles, sometimes in conjunction with other children or adult caregivers.
In fact, it has been suggested that encouraging unstructured play may be an exceptional way to increase physical activity levels in children, which is one important strategy in the resolution of the obesity epidemic.
The interactions that occur through play tell children that parents are fully paying attention to them and help to build enduring relationships. Less verbal children may be able to express their views, experiences, and even frustrations through play, allowing their parents an opportunity to gain a fuller understanding of their perspective.
Quite simply, play offers parents a wonderful opportunity to engage fully with their children. Play is integral to the academic environment. It ensures that the school setting attends to the social and emotional development of children as well as their cognitive development.
Play and unscheduled time that allow for peer interactions are important components of social-emotional learning. This trend has even affected kindergarten children, who have had free play reduced in their schedules to make room for more academics.
Even a formal structured physical education class may not offer the same benefit as free-play recess. Specialized gyms and enrichment programs designed for children exist in many communities, and there is an abundance of after-school enrichment activities.
These tools and programs are heavily marketed, and many parents have grown to believe that they are a requirement of good parenting and a necessity for appropriate development.
As a result, much of parent-child time is spent arranging special activities or transporting children between those activities. Free child-driven play known to benefit children is decreased, and the downtime that allows parents and children some of the most productive time for interaction is at a premium when schedules become highly packed with adult-supervised or adult-driven activities.
In addition, some worry they will not be acting as proper parents if they do not participate in this hurried lifestyle.
We can be certain that in some families, the protective influences of both play and high-quality family time are negatively affected by the current trends toward highly scheduling children.Types of Child Care.
Learn about the things you should consider for different types of child care. Child Care Centers. These are most often free-standing sites, but are sometimes located within a church or community building. Young Children is NAEYC’s award-winning, peer-reviewed journal focused on educating children from birth through third grade.
Children have the right to play. All children and young people have the right to play and need to play: free to choose what they do – lively or relaxed, noisy or quiet – with the chance to stretch and challenge themselves, take risks.
An important part of children's play is learning to interact with other children - learning to share, negotiate, lead, follow, listen, collaborate, plan, imagine, and show affection.
In the 's, a child development scholar, Mildred Parten, studied preschool children playing and developed descriptions of six stages of what a child's play looks like.
And so, when adults try to lead children’s play the result often is something that, for many of the children, is not play at all. When a child feels coerced, the play spirit vanishes and all of the advantages of that spirit go with it.
Role Play for ESL/EFL Children in the English Classroom Irene Y. Huang appleapplehuang(at)timberdesignmag.com Jing Shan Elementary School (Taipei County, Taiwan).