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Thursday, February 4, 2021

Teacher Tom: Their Play is Not Evidence That They are Fine

Teacher Tom: Their Play is Not Evidence That They are Fine
Their Play is Not Evidence That They are Fine

We've all seen recordings of children playing in refugee camps and in war zones. In Peter Gray's book Free to Learn, he tells about the games Jewish children played even in concentration camps. They were games of survival, for the most part, like challenging one another to touch an electrified fence, but they were games and it was play. Children play with or without toys. They play with or without freedom. They play alone and together. They play when afraid. They play when they're sad. They play when they're confused.

We point to the irrepressibility of childhood play as evidence of the resilience of children, and they certainly are resilient, but we make a mistake when we point to their play as evidence that they are "fine."

Children don't play because they are fine: they play because play is how children instinctively process (or, in other words, learn about) the world around them. I watched children who could only have been frightened and confused (because we were all frightened and confused) fly their toy airplanes into block towers over and over in the weeks after 9/11. My CONTINUE READING: 
Teacher Tom: Their Play is Not Evidence That They are Fine

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