Monday, March 3, 2008

The Importance of Play

The Feb 17 issue of the NY Times Magazine contained an article, "Taking Play Seriously" which examined the developmental importance of play for children.
Examining both the potential dangers and rewards of play during the developmental years, several theories relating to the value of play are thrown out and discussed. I was particularly intrigued by experiments that hypothesize that rats neurological development in certain parts of the brain is affected by lack of play, and a project in which rats exhibiting behaviors similar to ADHD seemed to benefit from extra play time.

The article also opened up a discussion on whether play is as important to development as many adults claim, or if our nostalgia for the good old days of Shadow Tag and Kick the Can is causing us to assume kids are missing out on the unstructured play of past decades. Certainly, we at Jefunira firmly believe in the value of creative, unstructured play for kids and have noticed similar dialogues in this area- Playborhood, a local site was recently featured in the Palo Alto weekly, and local author Denise Pope has been sharing her "Stressed out Students" message through local lecture events.

We would love to know what other parents/educators/community members think about this issue- comment away!

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