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When a Child Doesn't Play

by Glenna Zeak
January/February 2015
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/when-a-child-doesnt-play/5022138/

Play is the vehicle through which children explore, learn, build relationships, and acquire skills. Play fosters the ­expression of curiosity, laughter, enthusiasm, resourcefulness, and creativity. Play encourages independent learners. It requires the ability to imagine, plan, engage, reflect, ­pretend, ­construct, make choices, manipulate, examine, question, ­collaborate, cooperate, make decisions, create, and solve problems. Play engages children physically, ­intellectually, socially, and emotionally. Play engages the senses. It is how children come to understand the world, ­utilize surplus ­energy, cope with fears and anxiety, and ­manage emotional states. The very nature of play helps develop positive ­dispositions toward learning. Play is the way children learn. However, not all children know how to play, and not all ­children develop these skills in play ­experiences.

Some children wander about the classroom, pausing to observe and then moving on to another group of children, then another, never stopping to engage in play. Others ­dabble in play, that is, they move objects around but are
not fully engaged. Still others feel rejected, anxious or aloof, never feeling like a valued member of the group, ­looking for solace rather than play. These children need the ­support of their teachers. Children are, of course, complex human beings and understanding ...

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