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Reflective Play

taking a break from the bustle of the playgroundHave you ever seen a child sitting quietly under a play structure who seems to be doing nothing? In fact, time spent doing nothing is just as important as all the time spent playing tag, building sand castles, and reading books. Resting, thinking, and just staring into space are important parts of a child's day. Like adults, children need time apart from hectic environments to reflect and regroup. Busy days and spaces can make children feel stressed and cause them to lose focus. If quiet spaces and activities (such as games and puzzles) are a part of your playspace, children will naturally seek these out to calm down or to participate in quiet play with a small group of peers.

Just as moving and playing are important to development, the opportunity to rest and reflect allows children to learn how to self-regulate their emotions and behavior. Quiet places allow children to reflect on their play experiences, solidifying the foundations for future learning. During moments of quiet children can focus on their thoughts and feelings at their own pace with minimal distractions. Children are naturally drawn to small, comforting spaces where they can be alone or with one or two others. Small spaces provide a sense of security. By having several small quiet areas tucked throughout your playspace children can have a quiet moment without needing to leave the playspace entirely. Children will re-join the play at their own pace after taking advantage of the quiet spaces.

Helpful links:

Bell, Alison. (Jan/Dec 2004). Kids and privacy. Parenting. http://www.parenting.com/article/Mom/Work--Family/Kids-and-Privacy/

Family Education.com. (2006). The Hurried Child. http://life.familyeducation.com/stress/extracurricular-activities/36187.html?email

The Institute for Early Childhood Education and Research. (2004) The Importance of fostering social and emotional development in the early years. http://earlychildhood.educ.ubc.ca/Publications/Researchintopractice_Vol_III.html

KidsHealth (2006). Is your child too busy? http://www.kidshealth.org/parent/growth/growing/child_too_busy.html

Lee, Katherine. (2006). Why babies need downtime. Parenting. http://www.parenting.com/article/why-babies-need-downtime-21332648

Perry, Dr. Bruce. (2006). The Importance of pleasure in play. Scholastic. http://teacher.scholastic.com/professional/bruceperry/pleasure.htm