For a long period of time, parents have always ignored the concept of play in children and have always pushed them more towards academic success and have always seen play as a pass time or a waste of time in the child’s life. Fortunately, in recent years psychologists and child specialists have recognized the importance of PLAY in the early development of the child’s life. In most Scandinavian countries like Sweden, Norway and Denmark early education is more focused on inside and outside play along with emphasis on value system. The main goal of the curriculum is to let the child have autonomy, freedom, and self- dependency skills from a very young age. As a result, the children grown up to have better problem-solving skills, are high on creativity and have better emotional management skills as compared to children of the same age group from other European countries.
In the Eastern world, Japan is one such country that has been focusing on play and its contribution to early childhood. The government of Japan has made it mandatory that teachers of early childhood education making the curriculum for the children will keep their focus area on developing a strong and positive value system, healthy habits and attitudes that are necessary for them to lead a happy and a healthy life. Despite the efforts done by the government of Japan, the country has highest level of suicide rate of adolescents and young adults. It leaves us with the question that where we go wrong while raising the future of the nation. The answer lies in the external factors such as family environment, school environment and the expectations of the society which requires the child to suddenly become an adult and fulfil the expectations of the society and the concept of “play” is somewhere lost.
India is in a similar situation to Japan as we have a section of people who are looking towards the past and believe in a more conservation parenting style for their child while the other section looks towards the future and have a more liberal parenting attitude. The ideal parenting style should be a combination of both where “play” fulfils a particularly important part as parents realize its importance while bringing up their child.
Play develops the imaginative, creative, communication skills in the while leads to their physical, psychological, and emotional development. It also gives time for the parents and caregivers to have a bonding time with their child thereby increasing the parent-child bond and establishing a healthy relationship between them. Play allows a child to develop a world of their own where they have the freedom to create their own set of solutions for their problem with trial and error and a safe space where the mistakes that they make while exploring are not judged. This makes the child have confidence in themselves while developing effective decision making and problem-solving abilities.
A major reason why during the developing year play is stressed upon is that children at a very young age are learning about themselves and about people around them. It becomes easier for teachers and parents to mould them at this young stage rather than at a stage of adolescence or adulthood where the belief system is already established and strengthened with their own experiences.
At Dolphin POD, young leaders, as we like to refer to them, are provided with positive situations that activate their adaptability skills with the help of play. The “P” in “POD” represents “play” where our curriculum majorly focuses on the self and imaginative play and through play different skill sets like communication, contribution and critical thinking are taught to the leaders. The environment in the centre is positive, where even the setup of the room where the leaders choose to play are carefully arranged keeping in mind the safety of the leaders and in a manner where they are not judged and ridiculed for their efforts but rather are encouraged in an assertive and positive manner.
Dolphin POD works intensely and in collaboration with the child and the parents as well and offer support wherever necessary. The goal with every child for as long as they are with us is to teach them the “Dolphin Way” which is to work in a group with the feeling of togetherness and while doing so discovering themselves.