Thursday, 26 July 2012

A child's work

"We don't cease to play because we grow old, we grow old because we cease to play."  ~ G. B. Shaw

I know I've written about work several times over the last week or so.  And while I am a firm believer that children play an important role in the smooth running of a household and that responsibility for basic chores is a good thing for children to learn, I don't think their work is that one-dimensional.  Nor do I think that school is a child's work, as an ad that I came across in my inbox would lead me to believe.  In fact, when I saw that message, I remember frowning at the computer before deleting the message.

This morning, my son created a new pretend world.  Although it was imaginary, I believe it was firmly rooted in reality.  He imagined he was a wildlife conservationist, and I think this was based on our trip to the Burrowing Owl Interpretive Centre.  We read about owl conservation and the scientists who do this important work.

Fast forward a couple of days, and today I found him bright and early pulling out boxes and bags and stuffed animals galore to join in his play.  Oh, and he was also building tranquilizers and medicine out of lego.  Here's a small sampling of what he was up to:

These kennels are needed to keep the animals in once they are rescued.  He made sure I knew they had holes in them so the animals could breathe.

Our conservationist needs to go an wilderness adventure to find the injured animals and bring them back to the shelter.  So, he needs to pack his gear - including his tent and sleeping bag.  He used bungee cords to attach everything to his backpack.

Right now, he is setting up a tent with his father in the backyard, so he can start his wilderness experience tonight.  

I believe this kind of play helps Nicholas, and all children for that matter, integrate their experiences.  It helps them more fully understand what they see and hear in the world around them.  Play brings together head, hands and heart.  It allows children to develop wholly.  Yes, I believe that play is just as important work as chores and learning how to read.

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