Is play necessary in education?

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Is play necessary in education?
Children playing

Play is a fundamental building block for healthy child development not just fun and games as is perceived by many.

Recognizing this crucial role, Uganda is taking a positive step forward with its first national play day on April 30, 2024, but why is play so important, and how can Uganda make it a cornerstone of education?

Learning through play

Play is an essential part of it of learning and not a break from learning. Through play, children develop critical skills like literacy, problem-solving, teamwork, and emotional regulation.

Play also fosters creativity and resilience, helping children cope with challenges and adapt to a changing world.

Psychosocial wellbeing

Play is vital for a child's mental and emotional health since it allows them to express themselves, manage emotions, and build healthy relationships with others.

Play can even help children recover from trauma.

Unlocking potential

Play is not frivolous, but a powerful tool for unlocking a child's full potential.

By engaging in playful activities, children explore the world, discover their talents, and gain the confidence to reach their goals.

Play-based learning, where education is centered around play activities, is gaining worldwide recognition as a way to provide a strong foundation for children.

This approach aligns with the UN's Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) of ensuring quality education for all.

Uganda boasts one of the youngest populations globally, thus Investing in quality education for these children is critical for the nation's economic development.

Play-based learning equips young minds with the skills, resilience, and creativity needed to thrive in a changing world, ultimately contributing to a prosperous and resilient Uganda.

The Ugandan government's national play day is a commendable first step. But for play to become a true cornerstone of education, a collaborative effort is required including,

Policy changes and resource allocation allocation from government that can support play-based approaches in schools and early childhood development programs, training and support to teachers to effectively integrate play into their curricula.

Parents and caregivers understanding the value of play and providing opportunities for playful learning at home is crucial as well as creating safe and stimulating play spaces within communities can all further encourage a culture of play.

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