“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”
― Fred Rogers
We’re learning that play comes in a variety of forms, and that each form brings unique benefits. Some play is structured: There are rules and objectives. You may win or you may lose. You need an instructor and you need practice. But as you play you learn diligence and discipline and concentration and problem-solving. Chess is perhaps the very epitome of structured play and has been shown to have a variety of cognitive benefits, so when the opportunity arose to start regular chess lessons at TCC neither we nor students hesitated. Thank you to the Rotary member who kindly donated 20 chess sets to get us started!
But structured play is not the only play that benefits children. Some of our teachers recently participated in a two-day play therapy workshop – thanks to the generosity of the leadership at Hope House Counselling Centre. They learned there how therapeutic unstructured play can be for children. This kind of play doesn’t need to be taught, and there aren’t rules and nobody wins or loses. Children can simply express what they are thinking and feeling through play, especially if they have been through experiences that are hard for them to understand or talk about. Even a tray full of sand and small toys can give a child a voice.
Of course, a single workshop doesn’t equip a teacher to be a therapist. But Hope House has kindly offered to work with any of our students having a hard time if we can transport them to and from the counselling centre. If you can volunteer for 2-3 hours a week to provide transport, please contact us.