"Play is nature's way of teaching children how to solve their own problems, control their impulses, modulate their emotions, see from others' perspectives, negotiate differences and get along as equals. There is no substitute for play as a means of learning these skills."
The Importance of Play
"Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is the work of childhood." Fred Rogers
Play and choice are central to Forest School, play is recognised as vital to learning and development. Children are born with a strong drive to play, they need to play because their learning and wellbeing depends on it.
The Charter for Children's Play (2015) states that,
"Playing is integral to children’s enjoyment of their lives, their health and their development. Children and young people … need and want to play in whatever way they can. Through playing, children are creating their own culture, developing their abilities, exploring their creativity and learning about themselves, other people and the world around them."
Besides bringing happiness into children’s lives play brings numerous other benefits. It is through play that children develop physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually; when they play children develop their imagination, express themselves creatively, challenge themselves, test boundaries and practise newly acquired skills. In play children develop confidence and resilience as they take risks, both physical and social. Play teaches children how to build and maintain friendships, how to be both independent and interdependent. Play can provide children with the opportunity to process difficult and painful experiences and to celebrate happy experiences. It is through play that children explore and understand themselves and their world.
So what is play?
It can be summed up in one simple sentence:
What children and young people do when not being told what to do by adults.
At Fox Wood we provide a wonderful setting with engaging play opportunities and then we let children lead. We listen to and respect their choices, teaching them that they are trusted and their choices matter. In this environment their confidence and self esteem blossoms.