The Importance of Play – An afterthought
After I wrote yesterday’s post I had a quiet time and an opportunity to think about what I had read, and then written here at The Patch.
It came as a surprise to me, but when I thought about my younger school days, say up to the age of 12, the dominant memories are of times of play. I had never really given it any thought until yesterday.
At primary school my memories are of playing What’s the Time Mr Wolf? when I would have been 5 or 6 and still in the junior section of the school. Playing on the jungle gym and hanging upside down with friends as I grew or with one of my best friends playing tippeny runs and soccer with the boys out on the playing fields. At Intermediate my memories involve playing bull rush behind our classroom, before it was banned in schools. We also went through a period of trying to build human pyramids during our lunch breaks.
The only other strong memories relate to aspects of school that involved personal responsibility or achievement. Taking my pocket money to school each week as a 7 or 8 year old and filling out the deposit slips as part of the Post Office Savings scheme that ran in schools here when I was a nipper; being bell monitor and using my own watch to keep track of the end of lunch breaks; being part of an advanced reading group and being able to sit under the trees outside to do this class. At Intermediate it was taking my turn as lunch monitor, collecting everyone’s order and money in the morning and then getting their lunches from the canteen at lunch.
At no point do I have any real, strong memories of the “learning” parts of school.
At least from the years before High School. Yet clearly I learned to read and write, do basic maths and such like.
If I think about my life out of school through the same time frame, then it was all about playing. The games my best friend and I played out the back of our houses in the local church’s big back parking lot. War games, cowboys and indians, The Dukes of Hazard, (okay so that not only dates me, but sounds kind of sad all these years later) and more of the same and similar. Fantasies and collaborative expressions of creativity of all sorts.
This playfulness seems to stop dead when I begin to think of my years at high school. I don’t know if this is a function of the change of attitude and more academic focus around this age, or if it is purely the result of a natural developmental progression. More reading will be required on this, I think.
How about you? What are your dominant memories of childhood?
Play. Learning. Or something completely different.