You see a child play, and it is so close to seeing an artist paint, for in play a child says things without uttering a word. You can see how he solves his problems. You can also see what’s wrong. Young children, especially, have enormous creativity, and whatever’s in them rises to the surface in free play. – Erik Erikson
Children are brilliant in ways we sometimes do not see without studying them. My youngest daughter is nearly 15 months old. I have loved watching her develop, as I have my older daughter who starts second grade in days.
Although the quote equates a child’s play to art, but I see it in a different light. To see a child play is to see the sciences in action. Trial and error. Social science in children’s interactions with each other. Thought processes being worked out on the fly. If I do this, what do I think will happen? What did happen? How can I get it to do what I want? In truth, science and imagination are borne out of curiosity, which is abundant in a child!
I am a strong believer in playtime being necessary for the personal growth of a child. There is a place for structured learning, such as math and writing, but free-play allows children to practice imagination, observation, competition, cooperation, and self-discovery. I agree with Erik Erikson that “Whatever’s in them rises to the surface in free play.”
When you see a child play, what comes to mind for you? Do you believe children should have more or less free play in school?