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Play vs learning

December 11, 2009

By Li Wing-tung, Choi Hung, letter in the South China Morning Post, December 5

 Play is not a waste of time, but vital for a child’s development

Under the government’s pre-primary education voucher scheme, parents receive HK$12,000 for each of their children attending non-profit kindergarten. It also encourages some zealous parents to send their children to two schools. This policy has attracted a lot of criticism that it will deprive young children of playtime and enjoying a happy childhood.

I strongly believe that play and having fun are indispensable for everyone, not just children. Education today remains exam-oriented, and it is understandable that parents want to give their children a head start in our competitive society. However, children are not machines! They cannot study day and night; they need time to rest and play.

On top of that, it is believed that adults perform less efficiently when they feel stressed. Children are no exception. Only if they feel relaxed and happy will they be more attentive and learn faster. On the contrary, cramming too many activities and studying into their schedule can harm their health.

When we are young, we enjoy the simple and carefree times the most. It is a time to be free of hustle and bustle and of having to deal with mountains of work. As adults, we still treasure those happy times deep in our heart. Surely our children are entitled to no less. No one has the right to deprive them of a sweet and memorable childhood.

Many parents think that children are just wasting precious time watching TV or playing video games in their leisure time, at the expense of their all-round personal growth. So, they try to keep them busy all the time. But this is a mistake. There are many relaxing activities that let children have fun while improving their physical and mental health – going on a family trip to the countrywide for example

Playing and having fun are vital and beneficial to children. It offers them a chance to relax and be creative. Happy, healthy children do better in their studies. I don’t believe any parent would intentionally want their child to be unhappy.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Tommy Chan permalink
    February 24, 2010 5:07 pm

    I totally agree with Natalie’s letter. We should give some time to children to let them play or have fun.
    We should not control their life so let them to control their life by themselves. If they want to play, why stop it. If they can balance their school work and keep improving we just let them to play.
    Playing can release our pressures and let us relax our body. Playing is not also a part of children’live .It also is a part of adult’s lives.
    So let them get into there world.

  2. FHY permalink
    February 23, 2010 10:35 pm

    I think we should be equal emphasis on fun and learning, do not play too much, but will not have too much pressure.

  3. December 11, 2009 4:19 pm

    Natalie Chan, Leung Shek Chee College

    Playing is learning

    Many parents think children are wasting their precious time by playing and having fun. I believe playing is essential to a child’s development.

    This article opened my eyes about the need for children to be relaxed, happy and creative. It is good for them to play games that stimulate their mind. They can learn to solve problems on their own. Playing also improves their physical and mental health.

    Moreover, research has shown that children who play computer games can solve complicated puzzles within a short time. They can also recognise complicated things.

    Playing can make children happy and helps them relax.

    • December 11, 2009 4:20 pm

      Thank you for your letter, Natalie. I doubt whether anyone in this office would disagree with you. Not only children need to play but so do adults and adolescents. Everyone needs to have some fun in their lives. It’s what makes life worthwhile.

      Some people believe the only good games to play are educational games. But this is not really true. Playing make-believe games can help your imagination grow and allows you to explore alternative options to problems in life.

      Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the government could legislate that children must be allowed to “play” for two hours every single day?

      Susan, Editor

    • December 11, 2009 4:25 pm

      By Samantha Lau Pui Ching, Fung Kai Liu Man Shek Tong Secondary School

      A new learning platform

      Natalie thought that children should also be allowed to play for a better and balanced development. I am in line with her.

      Needless to say, children nowadays are put into great pressure. They are engaged in loads of quizzes or tests, various extra-curricular activities, to name but a few. Apparently, all these do good to them, yet what they need the most is leisure.

      This reminds me about an article about dual-kinder kids. I admit that brilliant academic results play an significant role in ones future, still playing should not be neglected. Playing help release children’s pressures. Together, it gives them a break. Without enough rest, how do they learn attentively and efficiently? A good mental health is the basis of everything.

      Added, children can learn something out of the classroom. To cite an example, sodoku strengthens their mind and enligtens them with fast response. It is interesting that some abstract ideas only be throughly realized through playing too.

      And some experts claimed that a joyful child is far more intelligent than a industrious child. The former even learns faster and better..

      Just let the children out of the cage and bump into fun.

    • December 11, 2009 4:31 pm

      By Yan Yu Law

      High time for playing

      Natalie Chan thinks that playing can make children happy. I totally agree with her as playing is a part of children’s lives.

      Many parents mistakenly believe that playing is a waste of children’s precious time and they should cherish it. I feel compelled that we have to understand the advantages of playing for child.

      Firstly, playing can help children alleviate the stress. It is patently obvious to everyone that children are living under a huge of pressure due to an exam-oriented society. If they always studied studiously,they would go crazy instead of having a good and an unforgettable memories. Thus,they have certainly no well development.

      Moreover, it is paramount for children to have a great mental health. They can play with their families and friends thereby enjoys their lives. What children need most is parental care and friendships. They feel like that everyone cares about them so that they have self-confidence to do everything on their own. It plays an important role in developing their confidence.

      I want to straighten out the wrong concept that playing does them good but not a waste.

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