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The Healing Power of Play for Children in Crisis Events

by Satomi Izumi-Taylor, Sandra Brown Turner, and YeonSun Ro
July/August 2021
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/the-healing-power-of-play-for-children-in-crisis-events/5026014/

Today’s children have had their opportunities for play reduced by the pandemic, community violence, natural disasters, excessive television viewing, inappropriate video games, lack of safe neighborhood playgrounds, and increased academic pressure.

We are all concerned about how children’s growth and development has been skewed to acclimate to this time of anxiety, depression, fear of loss, and actual loss. We have been isolated from others in doing anything routine, such as going to school, to work, to the park, to the grocery store, to play dates and celebrations. We do not have the mental or emotional tenacity to comprehend or assimilate this massive loss and change—so let’s imagine how children are coping.

When children are exposed to such stressful changes, early childhood teachers need to restore children’s opportunities for playful learning in schools. Teachers need to provide support to children facing crises, since children spend many hours at school. Young children’s abilities to express themselves are limited, and their words might sometimes be inadequate to display their feelings and needs. Adding to this difficulty, children’s natural spontaneities are necessarily suppressed through the process of socialization. This can be frustrating for children, but play offers them an appropriate means of adjusting to reality. Although it ...

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