Dr. Lomino in China: March 14
March 14: What I Learn from the Children
At the Factory today I am focusing on close observations of the children’s play themes and roles. Here’s what I have observed:
· Two little girls play wrestling. They are not exactly gentle and I worry that they may hit their heads on the hard surface. But they are smiling and enjoying the moment.
· Two boys have chosen to play on the stacked wood near the woodworking area rather than joining the group for breakfast. But their stomachs signal them, and they go to eat.
· Later in the morning a group of older children, who play together often, are role-playing worshipping in a temple. One girl sits on a tabletop lotus-style with her hands open, in her lap. The others appear to be bowing and worshipping her. It is fascinating to watch—an example of socio-dramatic play. They are acting out a cultural event. It reminds me that religion is still an important aspect of Chinese life. It is part of their history and integrated into everyday life, rather than worshipping as a regular routine like most major religious traditions.
I am reminded this morning of the significance of play in children’s lives and in the transmission of cultural norms and heritage. Play shapes them and allows them to vicariously experience many types of life experiences and scenarios. It helps them develop lifelong interests and understandings.
I wonder if their play is as rich if they don’t have opportunities to visit a variety of places and see people in many different roles? I know for sure that some forms of play are instinctual, such as survival play and conflict/battle situations. They also spend time acting out daily living such as cooking, keeping house, family routines.
Today’s Insight: I want to make sure that at Wauhatchie School we never forget to honor children’s play and recognize its tremendous benefits for their growth and development.