Friday, October 29, 2010

"The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things." - Plato

Who would of thunk it?  Even Plato knew about the importance of play. 

I cringe everytime I hear about another school program cutting out recess or a preschool program deciding to have an "academic focus." 
I attended a conference yesterday called "The Roots of Literacy: Play and Language" presented by Dr. Carol Westby, a Speech Language Pathologist.  She discussed a variety of research that proves that imaginary play makes kids better readers.  She said that good readers build mental models or representations of the situations described in text, thus allowing for comprehension.  Pretend or imaginary play is the first tool that children use to start creating these mental models that are so necessary in reading. 
It has also been shown that abstract thought, what is used in symbolic play, fuels creativity.  The ability for abstraction not only allows kids to be critical thinkers, but it also allows them to take on other perspectives - a necessary skill for socializing. empathizing and being a conscious global citizen.
I hope to use this blog to give parents new ideas to play with their kids and also inspire them to play more - not just because it's fun for their child - but, because it's necessary and critical for development.

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