Play is integral in the development of critical skills: creativity, curiosity, critical thinking, risk taking, and problem solving.
Current research shows that:
- Play is crucial in human development, improving cognitive, emotional, and physical well-being
- Balancing formal educational experiences with informal learning opportunities, such as that which is offered through play, help children to be more focused, interact better with their peers, and lead overall healthier lives.
- Although not “test-able” skills, “soft” skills such as conflict negotiation, collaboration, teamwork, strategizing, flexibility, and resilience contribute to success in adulthood
- Severe play-deprivation leads to children that suffer abnormalities in neurological development, but providing even a few opportunities to play can remediate the situation
Professor James J. Heckman, a Nobel Laureate and economist, has proven that the quality of early childhood development heavily influences health, economic, and social outcomes for individuals and society at large.
- Research shows great gains are made by investing in early childhood development.
- Gains go beyond the immediate positive impact on individual children resulting in benefits to society as a whole and lasting for generations.
- Foundational skills support cognitive skill development and promote success in school and life.
- Much of this success is tied to “soft” or social-emotional skills – curiosity, attentiveness, motivation, persistence, and working with others – which are developed through PLAY.
“Play is sometimes contrasted with work and characterized as a type of activity which is essentially unimportant, trivial and lacking in any serious purpose. As such, it is seen as something that children do because they are immature, and as something they will grow out of as they become adults. However . . . this view is mistaken. Play in all its rich variety is one of the highest achievements of the human species, alongside language, culture and technology. Indeed, without play, none of these other achievements would be possible.” – Dr. David Whitebread, University of Cambridge