Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Importance of Play

I have been reading "When a Stranger Calls you Mom." by Katharine Leslie. I have to say it is a difficult book to follow at times. It seems to have sections where I think "That is great. I get that." and then suddenly the psychological PhD in her kicks in and I have no idea what she is talking about. I skim those sections. There is an excellent section that describes the learning process we parents call "play". It is a vital part of human development! Here are the stages.

1. Solitary play - child is absorbed in his own movement and is oblivious to other around him.

2. Onlooker play - child watches others, is often hesitant to join in, but is learning vicariously.

3. Parallel play - children play similarly and are in the same location but not interacting and pay little attention to each other: also called sandbox play.

4. Associative play - children interact but not in any cohesive manner; also called silly play; they may share, get physical with each other or chatter incessantly at each other. Their goal is to connect with each other but not necessarily to accomplish any joint goal.

5. Cooperative play - children are willing able to work towards a common goal; they can agree to a set of rules and roles and enjoy the structure of games and organized sports; they are usually able to play cooperatively by age 8.

The author goes on to say that traumatized children are generally stuck in associative play. So they are the ones knocking over what other children are doing. Tapping them on the head. Laughing in a silly manner. All of these behaviors take place long after other kids have moved on. Therefore other children become angry, confused and annoyed by these behaviors. I think this really shows how the trauma and failure to attach in their early years really effects the most basic of behaviors.


Renee said...

Interesting info. You are so well read.

Brenda said...

I LOVE to read Renee. I always have. Thanks.

Denise said...

I would have to say that Mackenzie bounces around from "onlooker" to "parallel" to "associative". With her, it seems to be her environment that determines which way she plays. Very interesting info - thanks.