The magic of play
Updated: Jul 18, 2022
Children are born with three magic powers that drive learning, with joy, full engagement, and without seeming effort, leading the child from one stage of mastery to the next. We want to base our work with children on these magic powers.
The three magic powers that drive learning are:
· sensitive periods of development (natural stages of human development)
· an absorbent mind (a mind that is like a sponge, and just soaks up with all the senses)
· the capacity of imagination (the ability to create mental images , sensations, and ideas)
Play is the psychological experience that the child has of being totally, and happily, immersed in what she/he is doing. By directing their own learning through play, we see that children are able to address their own immediate and developmental needs. Having control over the course of one’s own learning, promotes desire, motivation, and mastery in the child. Being free to flow with the magical powers and driven by intrinsic motivation, children develop a lasting disposition to learn.
Why is play so important?
Play brings together all developmental needs, and knowledge is gained without the feeling of having to put in hard work. Through our observations we see that this presents children with a particularly strong opportunity for growth because it meets the needs of the child as a whole.
Through play, children develop critical, cognitive, emotional, social, and physical skills. They develop language, problem solving, creativity, and self-regulation. They learn to regulate their behavior and figure out the complexity of social relationships. It lays the foundations for later learning in science and mathematics, and builds creative problem solving skills. Play involves exploration, hypothesis testing, discovery, and supports children to become resilient when facing challenges. By contributing toward a natural and healthy development of the brain, play is an instrumental component to the wellbeing of every child.
Although we know how important play is for children and their development, the actual time children spend playing continues to decrease. Since the year 2000, with the increase in digital technology and screen usage, children play much less each day than before. Although a lot of activities on screen are referred to as “games” that are “played”, we feel it important that this is not confused with the term play that is used to describe the magic power that drives learning. In online gaming the term play simply means to do something to enjoy yourself/ to have fun. Because of its fast pace, instant gratification and addictive nature, screen has become the ideal pacifier used to keep children occupied and happy when parents are stressed and have a lot to do.
When being responsible for your child's learning in these times when schools are closed, remember that Play is learning. Give your child the time to play. Take away the screen and allow the magic to happen.