Superpowers of Play
Freedom to play is freedom to think. Children learn to pursue their own ideas and develop foundational cognitive, social, and emotional skills. Children are hard at work when they play, developing “superpowers” such as leadership, conflict resolution, problem-solving, creativity, agency, and voice.
Make-believe play helps children to develop executive functioning which has many functions, including the ability to self-regulate. Children with good self-regulation develop the ability to control emotions, behaviors, and impulses. During make-believe play children talk to themselves about what they are going to be doing and how they are going to do it. This type of “private speech” is a skill used by adults as a way to overcome obstacles, master cognitive and social skills, and manage emotions.
Don’t let play disappear from schools
Children have a right to learn, and thereby a right to play. Despite what we know about how children best learn, play is disappearing from early childhood classrooms. As direct instruction, standards, and testing continue to seep into our preschool and early elementary classrooms, it is imperative that we advocate for developmentally appropriate practices and play.
Play is the work of childhood. In addition to play being a healthy part of development, play equips children with the skills to be creative members of our innovative workforce and participating, thoughtful citizens in our democratic society.