Ask Dr. Jean: Value of Play


(Arti Freeman) #1

Dear Dr. Jean,

I hear so many parents today raising concern that their kindergartener isn’t learning enough in school and is just playing. What is your message to parents on the value of play in early childhood (and beyond).

Anonymous (Service Provider)

(Dr. Jean Clinton) #2

Dear Anon,

It would be so wonderful if parents and others could understand that children learn through play!! It is so important that the American Academy of Pediatrics has called on paediatricians to give parents prescriptions to take their children out to play!!

The council of Canadian ministers of education have also stated the importance of play in education.

Unfortunately parents have been seduced into thinking that the only important early learning is cognitive, like reading and math. I’ve coined it the “Tyranny of cognitive seduction”. They are super important, but children come to grasp them best through play, not drill and kill!

What studies show is that children with good social and emotional skills in the early years have the best outcomes of success later and even into adulthood. How do children develop these skills? Through relationships and play.

In Ontario, the Early Years Pedagogy for 0-8 year olds and the Kindergarten programme are both based on inquiry based play based learning. Creating a sense of belonging, well-being, expression, and rich experiences is at the heart and soul of the endeavour. We need to support parents on the journey and show them what amazing things their children are capable of doing. Children have 100 different languages so we need to make sure we help them all grow and not just preference one or two. Dancing, singing, art, joy, writing, play all should be part of a healthy classroom.

A great article to read is: “The Power of Play: A Pediatric Role in Enhancing Development in Young Children” by: Michael Yogman, Andrew Garner, Jeffrey Hutchinson, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, COMMITTEE ON PSYCHOSOCIAL ASPECTS OF CHILD AND FAMILY HEALTH, COUNCIL ON COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA

(MDuiker) #3

Here’s the link to the article @DrJeanforKids mentioned: