While the importance of play is deeply woven throughout the ECE sector’s beloved Te Whāriki, a US international play expert encourages educators to ensure New Zealand does not follow international trends where play is currently under siege.
The 2019 NZTC Symposium shared The Power of Play last week with international play expert Kathy Hirsh-Pasek imparting her wealth of knowledge on eager to learn delegates.
With over 100 people in attendance, Hirsh-Pasek spoke about the importance of play in all its forms – free play, guided play, and co-opted play. She outlined and elaborated on how her 6 C’s – collaboration, communication, content, critical thinking, creative innovation and confidence – are crucial life skills that are developed directly through play.
The sentiment of no ‘just’ in play was repeated many times by Kathy throughout her presentation as she shared, “Play allows us to build the suite of skills needed for success.”
Kathy’s outstanding presentation and workshop was complemented by an array of early childhood professionals who shared their research and knowledge on topics related to the importance of play for young children.
NZTC Chief Executive Selena Fox opened the day. “Today we are here to grow in our commitment to being gentle guiders for children to foster deeper, richer play. To consider intentional play and environments for learning and to strengthen our advocacy of being champions of play for young children,” said Fox.
“I can’t say enough how lucky we have been to have Kathy come to New Zealand to spend time exclusively with our NZTC team. We have heard from the greatest voice on PLAY in our time. As early childhood educators, teachers, mums, dads, grandparents and lovers of children we need to be the champions of this powerful force of enhancing children’s wellbeing, development and life success.”
This story originally appeared in the April 2019 Early Childhood Education Alumni News.
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