The right to play the game

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The 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that children have the right to education (art. 28), to play, to rest, to have fun and to engage in the activities they like most (art. 31). Two rights of equal weight and equal importance. So if the weekday mornings and nine months are for school, the afternoons, weekends and holidays should be for children and they should decide how to use them. I don’t think the suggestion should be to play only and always with the ball, but to use the time with substantial freedom to do what you like best: explore, visit, read, draw, photograph, collect objects and play outside with children.

The opinion of science

Science does not share this opinion of adults.

In the description of development that scientific research does, it is precisely in the first days, in the first months and in the first years that development is most rapid and most important. Before a boy or a girl enters a classroom for the first time, the most important things have already happened: the most important learnings, the foundations on which all subsequent knowledge will have to be built are already acquired or can hardly be recovered.

What does it mean to play

In order for children to fully experience the game, certain conditions must be met. They must be able to be sufficiently autonomous, have free time to administer, be able to choose the right place for the chosen game and live these conditions together with other children. So to be able to play you need to be able to leave the house without being accompanied, look for friends or friends and dedicate time to play free from other commitments in an appropriate place. Playing means living the experience of adventure, discovery, obstacle, risk. The pleasure of being able to do what yesterday you were unable to do or the frustration of not being able to do it. To the question “What is play for a child?” child psychiatrist Françoise Dolto replied: “I would say it is enjoying the fulfillment of a desire through risks”. The risk, an essential component of the game, would not be possible if there was an adult present who accompanies and supervises.

Play and school

The school should also be interested in the play experience of its pupils, because only if they can live their afternoons, weekends and holidays playing will children have something interesting to take to school as work materials: their observations, discoveries. , surprises, wonders. If the school cannot have this contribution it will have to go back to its programs and textbooks and be a bad school. If he wants to have this contribution he will not have to occupy the children’s time with homework.

A city to play

A city that develops a policy in favor of children and that takes children as a parameter must take their right to play as one of its priority commitment.

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About the Author: Jon Henley