The Play Return

The Play Return This month sees the release of a new report written by the writer, consultant and independent researcher on play, Tim Gill. It offers an overview of the case for play based on a selection of field based information, what Gill calls an evidence review.

“The overarching implication of this report is that playing is a powerful experiential process for children, and one that demands respect and careful consideration. Adults need to allow children enough freedom and responsibility to learn from their own efforts and mistakes, while being alive to what might go wrong” – The Play Return, Gill, 2014

Its title, The Play Return, comes from part of the Play Cycle illustrated through the paper on psycholudicsThe playground as therapeutic space: playwork as healing’ Sturrock and Else, 1998. It is another call to the value of play drawing on previous reports and new collected data to support the case for play in helping to enhance children’s lives. It makes a point of going beyond the physical arguments for play and, like Simply Play with its grounding in the Integral Play Framework expands the thinking about play to the social, emotional and spiritual aspects which occur when at play.

“There is a tension between the self-determined quality of children’s play and an adult-oriented focus on outcomes. Resolving this tension demands care. The potential of play is a consequence of its deep and complex connections with children’s sense of themselves, their competences and the environment around them. Privileging one developmental domain (for instance physical activity) risks undermining others (Lester and Russell 2008). This danger is highlighted in one policy review, which stated, “If we view play primarily as a means to achieve long-term physical, psychological and social benefits we are in danger of losing sight of the essence of play as intrinsically motivated behaviour” (Gleave and Cole-Hamilton 2012)”

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