In play, children land on an idea and develop it, try out suggestions, and transform it along the way. Working with THEIR OWN imaginations before acting on ideas. PLAY IS A PARADOX and we must understand it as a powerful force in children’s development and the clues to unleashing it.
When will we remember play IS ‘learning?’
WHOSE IMAGINATION IS IT?
We need to respond to their play cues and interests, in the present moment, because tomorrow, next week and in 3 weeks time, these interests may have altered, changed, moved on and evolved. “Children are pilots in their own play.” We are not crystal ball readers and therefore cannot predict or foresee how children will play, so WHY are we continuously spending precious hours transforming classrooms and play spaces to look like a scene from a beach or ‘under the sea?
Children’s REAL PLAY is fluid and ever-evolving and they should be in charge of how they navigate through time and not be cajoled into following what WE feel looks like a great place to play.
“The wider the range of opportunities we offer children, the more intense will be their motivations and the richer their experiences.” – Loris Malaguzzi
I understand the reasoning behind the excitement, as educators, we want to do the best for children. To demonstrate our passion and love for Early Years. To be organised and to document how we are going to help children LEARN! To showcase our creativity and create an environment that would win prizes at the most famous of ‘ Theme parks’!
Yes! Children WILL enjoy playing in the ‘themed’ space, yes they will use their imaginations, but to what extent?
Will it be used as YOU PREDICTED? Do you get disconcerted that they play differentlythanYOUplanned?
Will the carefully themed paper, bunting and fabric, hold up to lively and boisterous play? Do you get disheartened that all your beautifully prepared area is ripped to shreds and all pulled from the walls?
Why might this be? The areas are so bright and so powerful in colour, text and hanging resources, children become over stimulated and behaviour starts to change.
Your play space is no longer a calm and tranquil environment allowing children to settle down, tinker, potter and explore. To become engaged in deeply meaningful and Undirected opportunities to PLAY. Children become overexcited, overstimulated and as adults, you are left scratching your head why is it so noisy and why did MY environment not stand up to the test of time. WHY are the children NOT playing with it in the desired way?
Let’s be reminded- It’s NOT ‘YOUR‘ play space. Its the CHILDRENS.
It is their PLAY and THEY need to be in charge of THEIR OWN IMAGINATION