Play is, probably, the most powerful tool that children have for testing and mastering new concepts, experiences and skills. Play can help young children develop the skills and knowledge necessary for meaningful interactions and ways of meeting the challenges that they face in school. Play also acts as a contribution to the manner in which children, as learners, view themselves. As children play, they solve some emotional, social, and intellectual issues that are confusing. They do this by inventing new ideas and solutions. Children experience a feeling of power that emanates from being able to manage and figure out things on their own. This sense comes in to play since children do not apply these things in real life. Therefore, this assists children develop a positive approach toward learning through play.
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Parent’s Views on Play
Three parents were interviewed before writing this paper. These parents have children who are aged between 2 and 5 years. These parents had many common views of play. They believe that children should be given ample time to play. First, all these parents believe that play should be compulsory to children, and it is a crime to bar children from playing. The parents went ahead to claim that play helps the children have a healthy development. They said that play helps in the child’s physical growth, and denying a child the chance to play will make this child have a detrimental growth. All the parents felt that it was their responsibility to ensure that their children have efficient time to play. The parents further continued to say that they have set aside time for the children to ensure that these children enjoy good play time.
Parents’ Experiences of Play
The parents interviewed said they take their children to play. They also said that they have noted an increase on their children’s alertness as a result of play. They also said that their children demonstrated some problem solving skills, and they freely interacted with their peers. In play, children are very sociable, and they become very happy. They are able to discard their negative feelings, including anger, and they enjoy playing a lot. The children do not do these things at home, and the parents said that play helped their children develop new ways of interacting with people. These parents also say that play enhances creativity of their children. They also said that they listen to the needs of their children; thus, they know objects to buy for their children’s play.
However, these parents seemed to be focused on indoor games. For instance, one parent, a mother of five, said that her child (5 years old) has affinity to indoor games, and the child uses lots of hours on computer games. They also came to a consensus that its not bad to engage in indoor games. In fact, they claimed that these games are safer than outdoor games; therefore, they said that they would advise their children to play indoor games using indoor toys, for their own safety.
Theoretical Perspective’s of Play Held by these Parents
The three parents interviewed seemed to be allied to some theoretical perspectives on play. These parents were allied to classical theories as well as contemporary theories of play. For instance, the parents believed that play is essential for a child’s development. This line of thought is allied to the preexistence theory of play. This theory claims that children should play so as to have a healthy life in the future. Lack of play makes people have a degenerated motor development, and this affects people in the future since their muscles are not well developed.
These parents also said that play is important as it helps children rid of the excess energy. This is a claim that can be supported by a classical theory of play known as Surplus energy. This theory claims that the excess energy in people (including children) finds its release in the form of aimless activities like play.
Contemporary Theoretical Perspectives on Play
The parents also reflected contemporary theories of play in their arguments. For instance, all the parents reflected Sigmund Freud’s Psychoanalytic theory. They said that play helps children to get rid of their negative emotions, and this theory can claim this claim. This is because children become happy when playing, and they are lost, temporarily, in their little world of play. The parents also reflected Erickson’s meta-communicative theory in their answers. This theory claims that play is a communicative process, and children learn to associate with other people; play helps in the psycho social development of children. Children who are exposed to play develop better communication skills than children who do not play. Erickson developed 8 life stage development stages namely; caring, competence, fidelity, love, hope, purpose, will and wisdom. All these can be advanced through play.
These parents placed a high value on play. They said that play assists the motor development of their children, and this gives these children a healthy growth. They also said that play helps their children develop good communication skills that enhance positive social growth. Play is also important in that it helps the child’s cognitive development. Children encounter new thing in play, and this enriches their imaginativeness that assists them to grasp new concepts in school. In fact, children who perform well in school are those children who are given ample time to play.
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