Play – at least the kind that builds brains and forwards development – is becoming an endangered activity among those who need to engage in it most. This course is a must for all parents, day-care providers, and early childhood educators. Participants will learn why children need to play and what they need for true play to result

Course Description

Play – at least the kind that builds brains and forwards development – is becoming an endangered activity among those who need to engage in it most. Part of the problem is the premature pressure on children to learn and to become socialized. Another factor is that play has increasingly become associated with a sport or a screen activity. Probably our most significant failing is our lack of collective understanding concerning the pivotal role of play in development. We have never known more about the value of play and at the same time, we have never been so in need of this knowledge. The importance of play has become eclipsed by the urgency surrounding children’s conduct and achievements.

Suitability/Applicability

The information contained in this two hour course is a must for all parents, day-care providers, and early educators who wish to help their young charges to become all they were meant to be. Play is not optional from a developmental point of view. Participants will not only learn what kind of play is most beneficial but also how to support this activity in children. The information in this two hour seminar applies to children (and adults) of all ages although the primary focus is on young childhood.

Topics/Objectives

Objectives of the Course

  • to reveal the essence of play and provide an understanding of how it differs from work
  • to provide a comprehensive understanding of the role of play in healthy development of brains and personality
  • to reveal why the play motif should be the primary interface with children until the capacity for integrative functioning develops
  • to shed light on what activities are truly play and assess electronic games in that context
  • to elucidate the conditions that give rise to true play and to give strategies on how to provide these
  • to reveal the problem with instruction-based learning for young children and to provide suggestions for more natural ways of learning

Course Outline

Session One - Why children NEED to play

This session begins by getting to the essence of what play is and by differentiating it from other activities - even those that often are called ‘play’. Included in this session is an overview of the role of play in development, including its effect on brain growth and functioning. The implications for how we interact, teach, and discipline young children are explored. Suggestions are provided for when to introduce the idea of consequences and outcomes as well as the construct of ‘work’.


Session Two - What children NEED to be able to play

The second session explores the conditions required for true play to result. In particular, suggestions are provided for removing the impediments to play in the lives of our children. The most important kind of play - emergent play - in particular requires freedom from stimulation and from the work of attachment. Parents and teachers are given practical suggestions on how to provide these conditions.

Registration Details

This course is not currently offered as a continuing education course.

Course Coordinator

Neufeld Institute Faculty member Tamara Strijack is the acting coordinator for this course.

© 2016 The Neufeld Institute
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