Saturday, September 23, 2011 was an exciting day in the city of Philadelphia. Mayor Michael Nutter issued a proclamation declaring it the official “Philadelphia Declaration of Play” day.
A group of individuals in support of the importance of play in children’s lives gathered at the Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse to declare this support once and for all and to make a commitment to the children of Philadelphia that they will fight for their RIGHT to play. Among those in attendance were local educators, doctors, psychologists, and parents and everyone came together to sign the “Philadelphia Declaration of Play”.
So, why all the fuss? Why is play so important for children?
Allow me to explain through the thoughts of the speakers and attendants of the Philadelphia Declaration of Play event….
Despite what some tend to think, play is not a privilege to be controlled or taken away. Rather, it is right. It is a necessity. It is like air and water to children. It is absolutely integral to the emotional, social and neurological development of children. It is about learning to control your environment, learning to be a generous, compassionate, collaborative, creative, innovative, tenacious individual.
One speaker put forth her “6 C’s” that make a successful kid: Collaboration, Communication, Content, Critical Thinking, Creative Innovation, and Confidence. Where can all these things be learned? On the playground. It has been proven in various studies that kids in classrooms centered around learning through play score higher on tests. Play works. Because play is a child’s natural way of learning. You can only swallow so many facts at once, but PLAY is active. Play is learning by DOING. Play is a child discovering and learning for his or her self.
Play is important. Play is essential.