Play has never really been valued by on-lookers; especially by parents thinking about school and education. Children are always pushed to study and consistently told not to play or “fool around”. Personally, I agree with the catch phrase- play is children’s work; that it is not always about fun and that it is full of meaning. What we consider work, is not always what is best for a child ,and therefore, attention needs to paid to importance of play in a child’s life.
Teachers and researchers believe that play is natural, as well as an essential part to a child’s development. There are two types of play: organized play and free play. Both of which serve as contributors to the overall development of a child. Free play is considered to be just that- without any specific rules, where organized play consists of specific rules that the child needs to follow.
I believe that the physical and motor development is further developed through play, especially muscle development (coordination). Socio-emotional development is also enhanced as children are given the opportunity to work with others and build relationships through play. They are also learning about crucial social skills- like sharing; skills they will always need. Play contributes to cognitive development in that they are learning about the items around them (about shape, size, colour, etc). Play also contributes to language development, as children are known to talk to themselves and pretend-play (building imagination). When they are playing with others they assign roles and compromise on what they will play and who gets to be what. Children do not even need expensive toys or games to “work”. As teachers, we need to encourage our students to play and sometimes even join them to see how they interact with the environment, as well as their peers.
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