Learning and Early Childhood Development

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All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
I don’t know if you have heard of this saying but it’s a regular one in English, which means, if all you do is work work work then you and your life will be dull and boring.Fun and games in the learning process are important. A boy who can’t comprehend the complexities of a reading exercise can probably name most if not all, of the street on a Monopoly board, probably in the right sequence and with the right colour as well, without once ever having sat down with the specific purpose of memorising them.
What I am saying is obvious, of course, because I think we all know instinctively that play is a route to learning that remains open when just about everything else has become blocked; the more effective, very often, for operating at an unconscious or subconscious level. The most cursory glance at the natural world reveals the young of every intelligent species learning through play: We, however, supposedly the more intelligent, remove play from the timetable as soon as our young enter the institution dedicated to learning, and relegate it to its own little space, called playtime or break-time, when the learning process is deemed to be on “pause”!
Of course children start out in the infants with a day fairly well filled with play activities, but all too soon these dwindle away as they are replaced with the so called “real thing”, and once they reach Junior High school or Secondary School the only (teacher-instituted) games that really take place in the classroom are the occasional end-of-lesson “sweetener” or an end of term treat. Of course the demands of the National Curriculum have to be met, but I wonder sometimes, as we watch the light of infancy dim in the eyes of our growing children, to what extent Jack is a dull boy because we have made him that way.
We all need to re-evaluate the role and importance of play and games within the structure of what must be achieved in a lesson.
I don’t claim to be an expert: my

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