The Rose Garden has a Parent Evening coming up on Jan 27th, and we will be talking about the necessity of children’s play. Join us, if you can, or drop me a note with your thoughts! Here is an excerpt from Heaven on Earth
We say that children “learn by doing.” This is a common way of saying that the learning process is a miraculous orchestration and integration of the entire body, moving a million tiny interconnected particles toward the “gestalt” that is meaning. Children think through movement and play. In movement and play the brain goes through all the complex processes of growth and learning. The main avenue through which the child perceives the world is the realm of the senses. Through the natural sensory input of play, the child actively makes the world his own, rather than remaining a passive observer. Neurophysiologist Carla Hannaford, author of Smart Moves, says, “The richer our sensory environment, and the greater our freedom to explore it, the more intricate will be the patterns for learning, thought and creativity. . . . Our sensory experiences, both external and internal, shape our way of imaging and therefore, our thinking.” It is the life force through which the young child plays that will grow eventually into cognitive thought.
If we watch a young child at play, we can see that through her constant sensory/physical interaction with the environment, she gains experience and understanding of the situation, of herself, and the relationship between the two. She comes to know herself, the world, and what flows between.
Through sensory-rich play, the child gains a certain mastery over her body, and her world. She also begins to understand the inner world of emotional experience. It is critical that, through play, the different areas of the brain that control thought and emotion begin to communicate. “The frontal lobe,” Hannaford writes, “is able to synthesize thought with emotion through . . . the limbic system to give us compassion, reverence for life, unconditional love and all-important play.”