ART OF LEARNING      D-            PLAY IS WORK             A         141 RT OF            /14        L                 2 ...
PLAY IS WORK!                                                                                                             ...
PLAY IS WORK!                                                                                                             ...
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Play Newsletter : May - June 2012


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Play Newsletter : May - June 2012

  1. 1. ART OF LEARNING D- PLAY IS WORK A 141 RT OF /14 L 2 O EARNI MAY 2012 Issue no.- 2 DLF AKWO NG GUR PH OD GAO ASE 2 ESTA N. 1 TE 220 TEL 02 EPH 971 ONE 791 183 3 Play is, undoubtedly, the universal language ofPLAY - LINGUA FRANCA childhood. THE JOURNEY OF CHILDHOODRUSHING THROUGH WONDER YEARSPremature ‘adultification’ of childhood hasbeen getting considerable attention lately.From advocating 6 as the magical number tostart formal schooling to schools banning The ball- a universal play prop (Location- Leh)students under 13 from having socialnetworking sites and, this one really left medumb-struck, medically labeling youngchildren with low emotional quotient as‘psychopaths’. For me, a common thread runsthrough all this- Play. Continued on Page 2 Bubbles-a universal play experience (Location- Gurgaon) Imaginative Role Play- MewatPLAY PATTERNS ACROSS 3 DIVERSE SETTINGS From balloons toRecently, I was in Leh for a ‘work visit’. Leh, bubbles; fromthe stark, beautiful region on Indias northernborder with China and Tibet, has the dubious pebbles to puddles -claim of being the worst place in the world for some play props arealtitude sickness. I started my work there by as universal asplaying with local children, who humanity itself.serendipitously appeared during my visit tothe Shanti Stupa. Continued on Page 3
  2. 2. PLAY IS WORK! PAGE 2 Do we really need ‘nappy curriculum’? Do labels help us in nurturing children?PRESCHOOL- THE CULTURE OF TRIVIA (Head, Heart and Hand) that are foundational to human development in the early years, withDuring my sojourns to pre-primary and over-emphasized 3 Rs?primary schools in different places, I visited apopular ‘play-based’ preschool. This When it come to honoring play as childrenscoincided with the release of the revised work, many preschools need to match theEYFS curriculum in London reducing the rhetoric with reality.academic learning goals from 69 to 17 andfindings of the eight-decade long Longevity THE CULTURE OF DEFICITSProject. Prof Howard Friedman, a psychologist The natural rhythm of play among childrenat the University of California, concluded hislongitudinal study of gifted children who develops cognitive, affective and motor “If we do not competencies making play both a process andstarted school in the US around 1920s with anemphatic, “early school entry was found product of healthy childhood. Stuart Brown invest in play now, and his over 6,000 play studies on everyoneassociated with less educational attainment, from serial killers to substance abusers to we will findworse midlife adjustment and, most career-driven CEOs, show strong correlationimportantly, increased mortality risk.” between lack of opportunity/ability to play ourselvesSome of our ‘play-based’ preschools could be and emotional imbalance. Among children, investing muchcontributing to these patterns. ‘Play-based’ sometimes, this takes the form of labelshas become a marketing catchphrase while in describing their socio-emotional-pathological more in prisonseffect such schools thrive on the box approach state of being in play deprived times ofrather than the spectrum approach. If it is an curriculum overload. Some of these labels and hospitals!”option, would it not be better to keep the such as ‘Callous and Unemotionalchildren out of such preschools where Psychopaths’, ‘Youthful Tendency Disorder’ - Joan Almon, Co-founder ofthinking is optional, and obedience are ridiculous at best. Is childhood, the best the Alliance for Childhoodparamount? Think about it, Greek words for stage of human existence for most, going toeducation and play are paideia and paidia be defined by deficits /disorders?respectively and if play is work that childrenengage in to learn who they are and make UNDER-13 USING SOCIAL NETWORKINGsense of the world around them, then aren’t It’s all about making conscious choices. Wethey better off outside the formal confines of learn how to make decisions by makingnappy curriculums and prescriptive seat time? decisions. If our perception of young childrenAdult communication and rigidly structured is guided by deficits, we do not trust them toroutines in these schools send a clear message- make choices - simple, everyday decisionslearning is a linear and predictable process based on objective cause-effect. Additionally,managed by the teacher Won’t the children be their playscape has shrunk. Put these togethermore capable, communicative and competent and it explains why an increasing number oflearners outside such place? Are we not children under 13 years prefer to spend theirmaking a Faustian bargain by trading 3 Hs time socializing in the virtual world.
  3. 3. PLAY IS WORK! PAGE 3Universality of Play PATTERNS OF PLAY FROM LADAKH TO LOMBOKWhile advocates of play are clearly So a 5-year old in Mewat with a few to Jerusalem, Spanish Fly, Leapfrog andpassionate about learning and bottle caps, pieces of wood, yarn and Dima happen to universal playdevelopment that play fosters, for zest for possibilities has a toy cart to experiences for children across Asia,children across cultures and lands, play with. While in Lombok post-rain North America and Europe. Whenplay is just a way of life - something puddles and empty jars with some children in Korea play Kongki Noli ,they are naturally and compulsively small sticks are enough to set ablaze their counterparts in India have anwired to do just because they are the wonders of science within two Indian equivalent Gitte, as do theiralive. young children. While in Gurgaon, peers elsewhere playing Jacks. after using up the contents of theNo matter how impoverished or commercially procured bubble This was a refreshing realization for aprivileged their socio - economic making liquid, two young boys makes mom and educator who plays Ice andbackground, children will always find the bubble-inducing concoction in Water with her son and found herselfplay props within their environment - their bathrooms using toothpaste to playing the same game at 3,500from spools to sticks, from empty share the art of bubble-blowing with meters above sea level in the barrenbottles / bowls to blocks, from scrap their friends. Elsewhere in India, two but breath - taking environs of Lehto sand. Whether in nuclear families primary grade students, play ‘scissor, with 6-10 year olds. Play was theiror big joint families, at home, in p a p e r, s t o n e ’ j u s t l i k e t h e i r language and, thanks to my son, Ischool / daycare or anywhere in counterparts in Singapore and was adequately articulate tobetween children will always find Canada, among other places. communicate and connect withplaymates - real or make-believe. And When the parks in Israel rock with humanity there.of course, there is always plenty of Tock, Tock Tockeeya, echoes of itthat crucial ingredient - ‘time’ for reverberate across India as Ko Kalachi Play, it seems, is the universalplay. Paki and Fuul Ei in Switzerland. Going language of childhood. Filing and emptying of jars are universal play experiences of childhood. Playmates at 3500 mts above sea level