Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.
In my previous life, I was an educator. I taught glorious art to complicated, wild and honest children who worked so hard in my room that sometimes they needed to nap right that minute. One of the things I learned in the classroom was the truth of Mr Rogers words.
Now that I get to watch children through my lens, I truly get to savor the intensity and seriousness of play in the world of childhood.
Maria Montessori is a wonderful source on Play and how it should look for children.
According to Montessori, the essential dimensions of play are:
- Voluntary, enjoyable, purposeful and spontaneous
- Creativity expanded using problem solving skills, social skills, language skills and physical skills
- Helps expand on new ideas
- Helps the child to adapt socially
- Helps to thwart emotional problems
As a photographer, I get so much joy out of simply stepping back and watching a child play and documenting it. Their games, their explorations, their unique perspective on the world that is so precious and fleeting.
As parents, we enjoy our children's quiet moments and their crazy games. Having images made of them preserves this part of your child forever. Your baby will grow, you can't stop it, but you can have images of the ridiculous game they made up when they were 3 and the look of concentration on their face as they learned a new skill when they were 5.