Freedom: The Process of Play and its Value
We should value play simply for the process itself, as many of its benefits emerge only later
Nevena Mitranic is a third year doctoral student in Preschool Pedagogy at the Department of Pedagogy and Andragogy of the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade. At the same faculty she defended her Master’s thesis "Child’s Play in the context of Education Policy and Practice". Since September 2016, she has been working as a demonstrator for the courses Child’s Play and Creativity and Developing Early Childhood Education Practice, for Bachelor and Master Students at the Faculty of Philosophy, and also assisting in the program Curriculum Development and Evaluation.
Guided by her professors’ saying that "child’s play develops flexibility of thought and action" she hopes her doctoral work will contribute to encouraging educators and practitioners to play more with children and discover unpredictable beauty of their profession, and help them gain better understanding of child’s play, its challenges and ways to overcome them. Due to the Novak Djokovic Foundation scholarship this year she has become a teaching assistant at the Department of Pedagogy and Andragogy of the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade.
What do Teachers Think about the Benefits of Play?
Francesca Woods, Trainee Educational Psychologist
In many European countries, September marks the start of a new academic year with children returning to school following a (hopefully) playful summer break. The evidence on the benefits of play to children’s development is widely accepted, yet despite this, there continue to be many barriers standing in the way of children accessing opportunities to play, particularly within education settings.
The Play Blog is normally a place for us to share expert views on the importance and impact of play in children’s lives. As regular readers know, the UN recognises every child’s right to play, but this is one right amongst many that contribute to children leading happy and fulfilled lives. Policy makers have an important role in protecting these rights by thinking about how their decisions will affect children. However, to help children fully exercise their rights it’s important that their voices are included in the decision making process itself, including when it comes to the provision of adequate time and space to play.
Recently, Eurochild and UNICEF have joined together to do just this. They have launched a public survey that asks what kind of Europe children want. We’ve invited Eurochild Children’s Council member, 15-year-old Anna from Greece, to let readers know why it is so important for children to make their voices heard about what the Europe they want looks like.
Robyn Monro Miller, President of the International Play Association
2018 marks the 5th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations General Comment 17 on the right of the child to play. Today is World Play Day: it’s time to reflect on just how far we have gone in those five years.