The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds
Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth. Play also offers an ideal opportunity for parents to engage fully with their children. Despite the benefits derived from play for both children and parents, time for free play has been markedly reduced for some children. This report addresses a variety of factors that have reduced play, including a hurried lifestyle, changes in family structure, and increased attention to academics and enrichment activities at the expense of recess or free child-centered play.
In Scandinavian countries, the notion of “child-centeredness” pervades early childhood education. This means that each child’s personality, temperament, and unique developmental path are acknowledged and appreciated, and that teachers are responsible for creating a space that accommodates differences.
Play is an important part of children's learning and development. Find articles on how to intentionally connect play and learning, ideas to share with families, and the latest research about learning and play.
Skills such as taking a first step, smiling for the first time, and waving “bye bye” are called developmental milestones. Children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, act, and move (crawling, walking, etc.).
Childhood is not a dress rehearsal for adulthood, nor is it a race. It is a separate, unique, and very special phase of life. And I’m afraid that we’re essentially wiping it out of existence due to a misguided belief that earlier is better.