The Importance of Play in the Education System

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Changes in the Education System
The focus of the education system has changed drastically in the past twenty-six years. Approximately forty percent of elementary schools have already removed or reduced recess time, or are in the process of doing so, in comparison to the ten percent reported in 1989 (“Recess and the Importance of Play” , n.d.). Not only is recess important, but all types of play have been demonstrated to be beneficial to school aged children. Play is essential to healthy development encompassing mental, emotional, and physical well-being in all children.
The Main Components of Play
Play is classified into four categories that often complement each other. They are broken up into dramatic, manipulative, physical, and creative play. Dramatic play consists of dress up, make believe, and role playing, whereas manipulative play is more like board games, building blocks, and dolls, or action figures. When discussing the other aspects of play, physical activity is more like gym class activities such as hula hooping and jump roping. Creative play is self-explanatory. It is the hands on, arts and crafts type of play involving paint, glitter, glue , and play dough.
The Five Stages of Play
Not only are there categories of play, but there are the stages of play as well. The five stages of play involve onlooker behavior, solitary play, parallel activity, associative play, and cooperative play. Although the names of the stages define themselves, they fall on a wide spectrum of how play is actually defined. Stage one, Onlooker Behavior, involves a child who tends to study the situation rather than join it. Solitary play tends to fall under the manipulative play category. The child that falls under solitary usually chooses activiti...

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... life skills, and allows them to grow and develop into healthy individuals.

Works Cited

Isenberg, J. P., & Jalongo, M. R. (2010, July 20). Why is play important? Social and emotional development, physical development, creative development. Retrieved from
Miller, E., Almon, J. (2009). Crisis in the kindergarten: Why children need to play in school. Alliance for Childhood. Retrieved from
Parker-Pope, T. (2009, February 24). The 3 r’s? A fourth is crucial, too: Recess. The New York Times. Retrieved from
Recess and the importance of play. (n.d.). National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education. Retrieved from
The crucial role of recess in school. (2013, January). American Academy of Pediatrics. doi:101542/peds.2012-2993
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