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Power of Play

Defending Play

November 25, 2014

“Imagine child’s play as a medieval castle under siege from all sides,” wrote Kim Mulford in a 2011 article. Government-mandated standards and assessments, electronic entertainment, and parental fears are breaking through the fortress walls. Play is under attack. Who will lead the defense?

Time and again, good teachers have taken to the front lines to advocate for children. But what if the next generation of teachers does not realize the tremendous power and necessity of play in the lives of young children? Quite possibly they themselves did not experience the un-hindered, natural play of childhood, and may not realize the vast difference between “entertainment” and “play.”

To counter this challenge, Professor Mary Ruth Moore maintains that early childhood teaching programs must include hands-on, real life experiences so the students can learn for themselves the value of self-directed, active play. Each semester she has her pre-service teachers create a “play day” on campus for local children using only cardboard boxes and recycled materials for props. And each time, “something magical happens.” Read the article.