Making Sense of Play

Play - at least the kind that builds brains and forwards development - is becoming an endangered activity among those who need to engage in it most. Part of the problem is the premature pressure on children to learn and to become socialized. Another factor is that play has increasingly become associated with a sport or a screen activity. Probably our most significant failing is our lack of collective understanding concerning the pivotal role of play in development. We have never known more about the value of play and at the same time, we have never been so in need of this knowledge. The importance of play has become eclipsed by the urgency surrounding children’s conduct and achievements.

Course Outline

Session One - Why children NEED to play

This session begins by getting to the essence of what play is and by differentiating it from other activities - even those that often are called ‘play’. Included in this session is an overview of the role of play in development, including its effect on brain growth and functioning. The implications for how we interact, teach, and discipline young children are explored. Suggestions are provided for when to introduce the idea of consequences and outcomes as well as the construct of ‘work’.

Session Two - What children NEED to be able to play

The second session explores the conditions required for true play to result. In particular, suggestions are provided for removing the impediments to play in the lives of our children. The most important kind of play - emergent play - in particular requires freedom from stimulation and from the work of attachment. Parents and teachers are given practical suggestions on how to provide these conditions.