Play is Essential for Optimal Development
This is a very good article, probably the best thing I've seen come out of CCL yet (you just want to shoot the web designer though, there's no navigational links to (say) the 'Lessons in Learning' series, there's no RSS, and it (normally) appears in a gosh-awful pop up window). Essentially the article is a sustained defense of play in support of learning, but if you look at what is being described you can see it is the very sort of learner-directed open-ended approach discussed so often in these pages. Indeed, reducing or eliminating this open-ended approach is actually harmful to the child (the adult too, I would say - the highlight of my week this week has been beating the Washington Capitals 11-2 last night on EA Hockey). Note also that 'play' does not mean some sort of solitary and unsupported activity; the article discusses roles for adults as "co-players" and the like. Well referenced (though I wish more (or even some) of the citations were online). Thanks to Rod for the link.
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