The Importance of Play

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  • I was thinking about this. Thing is, a lot of my early memories are of learning stuff with the school. Writing practice stands out. Gymnastics and rounders (if that counts). I remember declaring maths was my favourite subject, aged 9 (hahahahahahaha). Going to the wood and making plaster casts of animal footprints. And projects. Especially projects. There was one on ancient Egypt when I must have been under 7 and one on the Domesday book when I was ten or eleven. Oh, and lots of stuff about the history of our town. I liked history. And in the holidays once, I set up a school and tried to teach my brother how to read.

    But then for me, learning is like play. Which is, of course, the point.

    • Hi Sol,
      Thanks for stopping by.
      Isn’t it interesting what we remember from childhood. I do remember things to do with “learning” and being in class, but they don’t dominate in any way through my pre-tween years. I have to work quite hard to drag up those sorts of things. I do remember getting enough stars (for good behaviour – what a goody-two-shoes!) in our class to choose a book. I still have it – it’s about the evolution of early man. (I would have been maybe 9. Even then I loved history/archaeology.)

      I do wonder if that early learning experience was so relaxed and natural that it didn’t stand out as excessively negative or positive enough to leave the stronger memories. The learning just happened in the way it seems to do for little kids so long as they are given interesting things to see, do and play/work with.

      I think it’s quite prophetic this early childhood stuff – I wanted a book on prehistory (and I did an Anthro degree), you set up a school to teach reading… now what is it you do for a living again? 😉
      Maybe I need to watch what the kids are into for signs of future professions.

  • Cathy

    This is a really thoughtful post. Thanks. I’m not an educator nor have young children but have always felt that the education system needs to change. So much of our emerging selves is neglected in the classroom to the point of withering. I don’t see why play and creativity are still suppressed in schools. It’s a subtle form of cruelty to children which affects them all their lives. Thankfully at least now parents can read about alternatives on the internet and compare notes with other parents.

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