Monday, February 11, 2008

Playing for the Future

Play is an essential part of childhood. In a recent Early Childhood Today article authors Deborah J. Leong, Ph.D. and Elena Bodrova Ph.D. discuss 'Why Children Need Play' and as I begin to skim the article my eyes bug out and my mouth is nearly to the floor, don't all teachers understand that children need play? I know that modern day parents need a wake up call often when it comes to over scheduling their children but it concerned me at first glance that a teacher, an early childhood teacher, would question a four year old child's need to play house.

The article is simple, straight to the point, play is important for reasons A, B, and C. The idea is obviously not new and where the authors hint at Piaget and Vygotsky I want to chime in with Erikson, Axline, and a few other theorists. Parents probably don't need a dissertation on the major psychologists that have advocated play, as much as I want to give them one, but simply watering down terminology is not enough. Parents need straight forward reasons, those As, Bs, and Cs of why play is important. Parents need to understand that tv and even educational games are not enough. I don't know the statistics for who reads Early Childhood Education but I gander there are some parents out there looking to see what teachers are reading, most likely the same parents so concerned about their child's future that play has taken a back seat to learning as early as two. These parents, who thirst for educating their children so young, might now understand, that play is important in the future of their child and maybe more important than all those educational toys for tots. Bring back out the old kitchen set, the doctor bag, and the dress up clothes because the future of your child depends on it.

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