THe DAILY BELLELLI: The Power of Play by David Elkind

Play, love and work: an essential trio

Play is the answer to the question, How does anything new ever come about? -Jean Piaget

Love, work, and play are the inborn drives that power human thought and action throughout the life cycle. Play is our need to adapt the world to ourselves and create new learning experiences. 

"Play allows humans to realize their highest aspirations and ideals." -Friedrich Schiller

-During infancy, play, love, and work are almost indistinguishable, with play being the most central. 

-By the end of the first year of life, the infant has created the notion of a permanent object (an object believed to exist when it is no longer present to the senses).
-Once the concept of a permanent object is attained, the infant will look for objects that are hidden and shows pleasure in retrieving hidden objects. Play, love and work are thus woven together in the infant's initial interactions with the world.
-In early childhood (2-6 years) play, love and work become slightly separated but are still closely linked. Children will learn the names of people, places and things, as well as numbers and letters. 
-Certainly young children can learn the names of numbers and letters and even sight-read a few words. But this is work and should make up only a small part of an overall hands-on, self-directed early childhood curriculum.