All children are different. Some enjoy spending time alone, others prefer being with other children. Sometimes there will be funny moments, for example on the slide, when one child meets another who speaks a different language. It is incredible how they do not care for any language barrier and continue to speak to their new friend, even raising their voice if they get no response, or reminding the other what they have just said or asked.
The under 6’s spend most of their time at nursery, in crèches, at pre-school or at home. They occasionally play in public gardens, visit leisure centres or go to swimming pools. They conduct very few activities outside, mainly because of the lack of space, particularly green, open spaces. The place where you can still go and play, without the danger of being knocked down by a car, is a playground.
Playing provides the experience through which a child “constructs” himself. Often, parents run off to the shops to buy an elaborate toy to enrich their child’s life, in the belief that this will help them grow and develop. But what is it about a game that makes it purposeful in the development of a child?
There is no data to show any difference in development between children living in cities and those in the countryside, between those living in Africa and those living among the skyscrapers of New York. However, studies on environmental influence are invaluable in showing just how importance this is with regard to development. The nervous system is formed quite early. Within the first six years of life, it has already reached an advanced stage of development. The first years of life are therefore vital.
Society today is predominantly urban, so children must be educated in movement and activity in order to: • Promote sound psycho-physical development • Lay the foundations for an active lifestyle • Prevent obesity and consequent illness