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Examining rich, authentic, complex, joyful PLAY!

Turn up that volume, click on your full screen and sit back and enjoy!

Did you hear it?  Did you see it? 

Embedded in this joyful moment was a dance of many play types, central to a broad and necessary spectrum of child development. 

Let's examine the natural, non-intrusive, liberated, and complex play that this opportunity afforded.

What did you see?

Cognitive:  Curiosity and initiative; engagement and persistence; knowledge of the natural/physical world; finding similarity and difference; Measurement of volume, time, length, pressure, force; skills of inquiry.

Language:  Exchange of both receptive (listening, understanding, responding) and expressive language (speaking, communicating, conversing) 

Physical:  Active Physical play, perceptual-motor senses, gross motor, fine motor

Social/group:  Respect, Trust, collaboration, risk of the unknown, consent, taking turns, ease with uncertainty, how to enter and exit situation, patience, resilience, self advocacy,  

Creativity:  Flexibility, Fluency, Sensitivity, imagination

Affective:  Emotional; Ability to deal with feelings, express feelings; deal with the feelings of others; resolve inner fears and conflicts

Developmental domains taken from ~What We Learn Through Play by S. Eyrich 2015

Play isn't always joyful... 

J:  "H, Can I play with you?"

H:  "No"  says H, while deeply engaged in his own play project.

J:  "H isn't playing with me!  (J said to play worker)  I want him to play with me.  He's not answering me!"

PW:  "Maybe that means he doesn't want to play with you?"

J:  "No, it doesn't mean that... H!!"  (said as he walks away from PW and back to seeking play with H)

Children need to have a LOT of practice with exchanges like this.  Unregulated play allows children to build resilience in the unpredictable world of desire, gratification and consent.  Too often, adults rush in to rescue, protect and console a child who is in the mix of learning elements of autonomy, power and identity, rejection and recovery.  In time, children who are free to explore this tender terrain with skilled and sensitive adults, intervening only when necessary, children will learn to see them selves as the catalyst of their own joy. 

How often are children in your environment free to experience, express and enjoy this kind of play?


Some thoughts to ponder...

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