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Parents and the broader community often comment that children are not learning anything worthwhile if they "are just playing". Discuss.

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Introduction

Parents and the broader community often comment that children are not learning anything worthwhile if they "are just playing". Discuss. Psychologists and educators have attested that play is undeniably part and parcel of life of a growing and developing child from infant through to becoming an adult; even as an adult, play cannot be dismissed from life. Wrong concepts of play, cultural issues, socio-economic issues, and educational policies of a society could influence adults' perception towards the value and purpose of play. These would be presented to explain why parents presume that children are not learning anything worthwhile if they "are just playing". Conversely, play is a process where learning and development can occur while the child is engaged in playing. The rationale and implication for different forms of play with respect to the contexts for physical, socio-emotional, cognitive, creativity, and language development of the child will be highlighted to enable parents to understand that children are really learning important lessons even if they "are just playing" within an organised situation or freely on their own. Very often, parents, teachers, and caregivers would use play as a reward or as a bribe to coax children to complete their homework or practise on their music. They have segregated "serious work" from play and play is viewed as non-beneficial to academic advancement. At the same time, adults spend little time playing with children because they find it a tedious and frustrating task to play with children. ...read more.

Middle

As a result, children are much deprived of free play. Many children have not acquired the art of making friends and even the ability to make friendly contacts (Tan et al, 1997) The foregoing examples demonstrate that parental perspectives, socio-economic status, cultural factors, and educational policies are some issues that could negate the value and importance of play to children's development and be viewed as having no "real educational experiences" (Leong & Bodrova, 2003, pp. 5). On the contrary, Hughes (1999, p. 109) advises that play is very often the context in which the needs of a growing child are developed and enhanced. It is vital to the development of all facets of the young child - personal awareness, emotional well-being, socialisation, communication, cognition, and perceptual motor skills (Hughes, 1999, p. 62-64, 68-69, 81-109 - 111). There are numerous play processes that help develop these many facets in the young child. Infant games such as peek-a-boo, making funny faces in front of a mirror, and water play in bathtub promote adult-child relationship. Playing also encourages and strengthens awareness of self and others; thus, it facilitates the development of a child's image of himself and others. Indeed, they are not meaningless play especially when adults play with children, the latter will find adults more fun to be with; it is easier to form attachment that leads to securely attached children. Secure attachment is vital to the growing child: it gives him trust and confidence in his environment; it enables him to venture, explore, and learn about his surroundings (Hughes, 1999, p. ...read more.

Conclusion

16-21) point out that it is vital that children must learn to be competent at the "basic skills of the human community, in language, body control, morality, reasoning, and interpersonal relations. As such, they believe that play and developing competence go together, and growing up is a time of socialising and becoming adept at socially relevant skills and beliefs. Unless children become competent in the basic social skills, they could become a problem for their family, for their society, and for themselves. In view of this, research studies by McHale, Crouter and Tucker recommend that free-time activities in middle childhood such as sports, and hobbies are essential and important to children's psychosocial development as well as cognitive and motivational development. Nonetheless, they caution that parents and adults need to supervise free-time activities that are constructive in development; otherwise children may indulge freely in activities that may be harmful to them. Play is indeed the cornerstone upon which the pillars of physical, socio-emotional, cognitive, creative, and language development are built on. Parents and other significant adults need to be informed and understand that play in the lives of children are very essential and purposeful in enriching their repertoire of experiences and development. Play is not an end to itself; they help children to add on to their experiences and construct new knowledge to enhance their cognitive, social, emotional, and communication skills. Adults need to be supportive, involved, and be open to the various forms of play to help children to desire to learn and develop with enthusiasm and eagerness instead of drudging learning through stacks of worksheets. 1 ...read more.

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