Have We Under-Estimated the Value of Play?

There is no doubt that we have under-estimated the value of play in our educational ‘systems.’

You only have to look at the stereotypical classroom to understand that most of the play our students engage with during their day at is at recess. And we wonder why they are bored to distraction. And yet, the trend is to shorten or eliminate recess times, because – it is argued – this time spent at school is unproductive.

This is plain wrong. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Listen to what Katie Salen, Executive Director of the Institute for Play has to say…

Play is not an activity.

As Katie describes, and I concur, play is a state of being. Play gives students (no matter their age or ability) a reason to engage. And isn’t gaining engagement half the battle?

Katie makes a salient point – might a playful frame of mind stand to transform the experience of education for our students? Vote 1 for Katie, I say, to show that we ordinarily have under-estimated the value of play in our educational institutions.

Play engages. Engagement leads to sharing. Sharing leads to discovery… and at this point, the teacher can help the student to transform this discovery into learning. This is the ‘state of being’ I want possible for every classroom in the world. And it can happen no matter the curricula.

Remember, not all teaching equals learning. It’s a bit like saying all dating services lead to true love. Not so much.

You can learn more about the value of play here.


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