Play just is

I’m reblogging this for various reasons. Here’s what I just said in a comment on it:

Can’t disagree. Have said similar. My slogan: ‘through play we become human’ was intended to encompass a lot of what you have glidden over. Or overflown.

Through play we become human*.

This sentence implies that without play we won’t become human, as noted by two Browns. Stuart Brown on psychopaths and Fraser on Romanian orphans. It implies that play is a process, not a goal. It implies that play is an inescapable part of all of us.

Except the ones that didn’t get to play enough…

It implies that becoming human doesn’t just happen, like getting older; but rather, it is dependent on… Well it doesn’t say.

It’s only one little sentence, give it a break, it is working very hard for a little sentence. My little sentence. C’m’ere, little sentence, I’m going to give you a big hug!

*Said in a piece in this book, co-authored with the inevitable Penny Wilson and the inestimable and underrated Mo Palmer. The piece, not the book.


I really am growing very tired of the constant over-emphasis, in the proclamations of adults in general, that ‘play aids children’s learning’, or variations on the theme (‘play reduces obesity’, ‘play aids social skills’, ‘play teaches children right from wrong’, and so on). What is consistently missed in all this ‘be a better person’ rhetoric is the whole experience of being a child. If, firstly, in the case of playwork (though not too overwhelmed by the above notions), the sector takes pride (and yes, pride before a fall) in being ‘the only adults in the children’s workforce who try to see things from the child’s perspective’ (as I was taught), then there should be a lot more discussion on ‘trying to see things from the child’s perspective’ going on.

The playwork sector aside, I sometimes find it difficult to understand why any given adult can’t understand the very simple fact…

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One thought on “Play just is

  1. I wrote this, and dropped it into the raging alphanumeric maelstrom that we call the Book of Face, a mere three hours ago, just before the Wise Seath did speak, as it happens:

    “I’m not interested in justifying playwork using quantitative approaches, anymore than I am interested in quantifying the benefits of breathing or food. This government is happy to sanction disabled people’s benefits and to see a disabled gulf war veteran die for lack of insulin. They are hardly likely to give a toss about another report by Timothy Gill.”

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