Building community while at home #7 – Play is our work

“It is truly remarkable to see how the child’s soul and spirit are active in free play.”

— Rudolf Steiner

Watching young children being fully immersed in self-directed play is a precious gift for adults. Play is the work of the young child. It is of vital importance and has a health-giving quality. What does the young child need in order to enter freely into child-initiated and child-directed play? What is the role of the adult?

Children need, foremost of all, time and space to play away from the watchful eye of parents or teachers. They will direct their play themselves, exploring, seeking hiding places, collecting treasures and thus immersing themselves into their own world. The young child observes people, objects and occurrences in the surroundings. With its innate faculty to imitate play is initiated and carried out based on these observations. Play is a form of wrestling with the material world, exploring its properties and learning through experience about the effects one’s own action can have.

By Anke Scheinfeld, Rudolf Steiner School Kindergarten