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  • Writer's pictureTinkering Project VT

"PLAY is the highest form of research" -Einstein

Updated: Dec 13, 2019

"The emphasis is always on the process of play, which is always evolving. The characteristics of play also vary enormously-it can be fun, challenging, joyful, dark, familiar, risky, sociable or solitary. The process belongs to the child. Play doesn't have to make sense from the outside and children have the right to privacy in play."

Why Is Play Important? According to Fromberg and Gullo (1992), play enhances language development, social competence, creativity, imagination, and thinking skills. Frost (1992) concurred, stating that "play is the chief vehicle for the development of imagination and intelligence, language, social skills, and perceptual-motor abilities in infants and young children."

Putting children in the driver seat allows for constructive, free, child-directed play, giving us adults an understanding of the learning happening if we just listen and observe without an agenda.

Jean Piaget was quoted in his later years as saying “Our real problem is – what is the goal of education? Are we forming children that are only capable of learning what is already known? Or should we try developing creative and innovative minds, capable of discovery from the preschool age on, throughout life?”

His theory of play (also known as developmental stage theory) is based upon the idea that cognitive development and in particular the learning of language, requires appropriate environmental stimuli and experiences as the child matures. He suggested that there are two key processes, assimilation (of new knowledge and experience) and accommodation of those into the child’s existing internal organised patterns of thought and behaviour, known as schemas.

As child develops, it creates schemata for each of its experiences and the knowledge it has gained, which it stores for reference when it comes across the same or similar experiences. The new knowledge from these experiences are assimilated by the child and then accommodated into existing schemata often updating those schemata with the new experience.

It is the assembled schemas that people use when they interact with the world and people around them, and the richer a child’s learning (play) environment, Piaget theorised, the better the schemata and schemas will be.

How do we as a culture; children, adults, grandparents, parents, educators...view or value play?

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