The Child’s Right to Play

Play is an important part of a child's development.
Playground time at Day Nursery

This is reprinted with permission from Child Care Exchange.  It appeared in their daily email called Exchange Every Day on September 16, 2008.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has published an excellent set of guidelines for pediatricians on the importance of promoting play.  The report, “The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds” by Kenneth R. Ginsburg, includes a extremely useful summary for all who care about young children, on the reasons play is becoming a diminishing part of children’s lives and why this is harmful to their development.  In the Introduction, Ginsburg observes…

“Play is so important to optimal child development that it has been recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child.  This birthright is challenged by forces including child labor and exploitation practices, war and neighborhood violence, and the limited resources available to children living in poverty. However, even those children who are fortunate enough to have abundant available resources and who live in relative peace may not be receiving the full benefits of play. Many of these children are being raised in an increasingly hurried and pressured style that may limit the protective benefits they would gain from child-driven play. Because every child deserves the opportunity to develop to their unique potential, child advocates must consider all factors that interfere with optimal development and press for circumstances that allow each child to fully reap the advantages associated with play.”

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