Time to Play: The Difference Between Knowing and Showing

Matthew Etherington


Children’s play experiences demonstrate many benefits for learning, cognitive development, and self-awareness. Evidence reveals that children require regular amounts of play. Despite this evidence, play has been rapidly disappearing from the home, the neighbourhood, and the school over the last two decades. Curriculum reformers present empirical data to suggest that safety, health and fitness, and behaviour considerations compel a structured approach to playtime from Kindergarten through to Year 6 of primary school. In this article, I argue that one can know from personal experience that authentic play experiences are valuable and one can also show through personal experience that play is vital for learning. These two approaches defend play as a valuable learning experience for curriculum development.

Keywords: childhood; play, curriculum development; knowing; showing


childhood; play; curriculum development; knowing; showing

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