Play is that activity through which child learns by doing with the least amount of resistance. It is a behaviour format which can facilitate report and communication and through which information and learning can pass between child and adult.
The significance of play within, the human experience has been widely recognized and play is natural activity for children. It is a way in which children explore their environment and come to terms with its realities.
Parents are often faced with the difficulty of finding effective methods to implement in order to facilitate the child’s growth. In this situation, play may be used not only as a basic activity resource but in many instances as an appropriate child care methodology. Play is a behaviour format which can facilitate rapport and communication and through which information and learning can pass between child and adult. Through play the child learns by doing with the least amount of resistance.
Child care practice might use the high levels of motivation apparent in play and its undeniable educational value. In order to do so the validity of play in respect of child development must be established; play must be placed within a theoretical framework; an attempt must be made to integrate this knowledge into our child care techniques.
The emphasis on performance both in class and on the sports field to some extent denies the importance of play. This is especially so in the context of learning that takes place through the daily living experiences of the child-learning that cannot be taught formally and theoretically but which must be experienced within social interaction.
The Role of Play
Following are some major roles of play:
1. Play activity provides a stable, logical, preverbal structure to which the child applies his reasoning. The reasoning is put into language and the language in turn assists reasoning because it helps the child to recognize what others think of his speech efforts.
2. It is suggested that play, although not a prerequisite for language, facilitates language acquisition and skills by providing a vehicle through which language can be practiced and encouraged.
3. It is not only through language but through play itself that the child learns to express himself in a unique and individual manner.
4. He discovers qualities about himself and finds his own sense of satisfaction.
5. He can construct ‘as if’ situations in which he can play mother, father, sister, teacher, etc. In the acting out of various situations and roles, play has a constructive function.
6. It is an attempt by the child to master and integrate reality. In this sense play also has the adaptive function of defusing and divesting situations of their negative and threatening qualities. This facilitates the positive assimilation of experiences for the child.
7. The validity of play lies in the fact that it is part of a process of growth
8. Play is a process of experimentation and exploration.
9. Through play the child attempts to master various skills to cope with his changing roles in a changing environment, to assimilate and integrate processes and to develop an adaptive and individual personality.