Not too long ago, in my master’s class on child development we were challenged to write about our cherished memories of play as young children. Amazingly to us, but not surprising to our teacher, we had a common theme; unstructured, unsupervised and open-ended play. We shared common memories of playing outdoors for hours in multi-aged groupings in self-directed play. I remembered playing monkey in the middle with my siblings and neighbours, shooting pucks in the backyard rink that my dad made for us and hours of make believe play where of course my seven brothers dominated the game and indulged a little sister, assigning a minor role to me but inclusive.
Today I have the most amazing job in the world. I am a Kindergarten teacher and my program is play-based. For the past few years I have lamented the loss of play in some of our primary classrooms, not because the institution has restricted play but because it is not trusted as important work.