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Let the children play: Nature’s answer to early learning

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Play enhances every aspect of children’s development and learning. It is children’s window to the world. Play is so important that its significance in children’s lives is recognized by the United Nations as a specific right in addition to, and distinct from, a child’s right to recreation and leisure. However, children’s  opportunities for play and their access to play environments is changing.

The physical and social environments in which Canadian children develop have changed over the past several decades. It is increasingly rare for children to have long, uninterrupted blocks of time to play indoors and outdoors, by themselves or with their friends.

Since the end of the Second World War, the proportion of the population living in urban areas has increased from 54% to 80%.2 As more Canadians move into cities, their children are less likely to have access to outdoor play spaces in natural environments. Technology, traffic, and urban land-use patterns have changed the natural play territory of childhood. Parents, increasingly concerned about the security of their children, are making greater use of carefully constructed outdoor playgrounds that limit challenge in the name of safety.

At the same time, growing numbers of children are spending substantial time in settings that focus on structured educational and recreational activities, leaving little time for participation in open-ended, self-initiated free play. According to the Survey on Canadian Attitudes toward Learning, Canadian parents believe that playing is more important than organized lessons for preschoolers; however, more and more parents are enrolling their very young children in
lessons and other structured activities. For example, between 1999 and 2003, the percentage of Canadian four- and five-year-olds who took organized lessons (e.g., gymnastics, martial arts, etc.) increased from 23% to 30% and the percentage participating in coached sports increased from 36% to 41%.



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Editor's comments - [  What do children learn from play? According to this Canadian document, Play nourishes every aspect of children’s development—it forms the foundation of intellectual, social, physical, and emotional skills necessary for success in school and in life. Play “paves the way for learning.”  ]  Reference this?Cryer, J. (Year). This page title in italics. Retrieved date, from <this page's full URL>

In the text: Cryer (year)


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Reference : CCL. (2006). Let the children play: Nature’s answer to early learning. Canada: CCL


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Download this file (Nov-08-06-Let-the-Children-Play.pdf)Nov-08-06-Let-the-Children-Play.pdfCCL. (2006). Let the children play: Nature’s answer to early learning. Canada: CCL
Last Updated on Thursday, 03 September 2009 12:03  

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