Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 08, 2017 (SKNIS): A child’s learning facilitated through play is fundamental to his or her development, says Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Honourable Shawn Richards.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Victoria Road Preschool on March 07, the education minister said that parents often complain that their children play too much without fully appreciating that playing is a fundamental part of a child’s life.
“Part of the development of your child is not just about sitting in a classroom and receiving instruction from a teacher, but the overall development of the child involves the child being able to engage in physical activity,” said Minister Richards.
“Think about some of the skills that you would have learnt whilst on the playground playing with other children—the skills of negotiating, children playing with toys, and one child wanting a particular toy, the other child wanting a next, and those children being able to negotiate whether you are going to use this one for so long while I will use the other toy. Another part of that negotiation may be that you will use it for five minutes and I will use it for the next five minutes.”
The minister said that the playground is where many children develop useful negotiating and social skills.
“Children also develop their motor skills (by) climbing trees,” he said. “They develop reasoning skills because sometimes in playing, of course, they have to engage their own sense of reasoning as to what is the next step involved in this particular activity.”
Addressing the parents who attended the opening, the minister said that they should allow their children to play.
“Parents, you will have children who will play. It is part of their development. It is part of their nature,” he said. “In fact, I wish more of us as adults would engage in play because perhaps we would have less crime here in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.”
According the Centre of Excellence for Childhood Education in Canada, “physical activity is important to many aspects of child health and development. In young children, lack of physical activity is a risk factor for many health problems such as high blood pressure, weight gain, excess body fat, bad cholesterol, respiratory difficulties, cardiovascular diseases and bone health problems.”