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Why Children Must Learn to Play


Christopher Perrin


We can all plainly see that children love to play. If you are honest with yourself, don’t you like to play too? In previous centuries, parents were content to let their children romp and play for hours every day, and no doubt some of the most deeply retained lessons of life were derived from play, adventure, conflict, and drama all learned in the world of play. It was Plato who first suggested that education should begin in play: Don’t use force in training the children in the studies, but rather play. In that way you can better discern what each is naturally directed towards (Republic, Book VII). If education begins in play, why do we so often cut it short? If play is integral to a child’s education, why isn’t our teaching more playful? In what ways can we playfully teach and integrate play into our curriculum without lapsing into a fluffy, “educational” amusement? In this seminar we will trace the origin and insights of “playful” education while discussing the ways it can be blended to serve a robust curriculum.