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

Faculty Advisor




learning through play, free play

Abstract (summary)

Play is a universal phenomenon with a pervasive and enduring presence in human history. Play has fascinated philosophers, painters, and poets for generations. Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes the significance of play in the lives of children, acknowledging play as a specific right, in addition to and distinct from the child’s right to recreation and leisure. Early childhood educators have long recognized the power of play. The significant contribution of play to young children’s development is well documented in child psychology, anthropology, sociology, and in the theoretical frameworks of education, recreation, and communications. Being able to play is one of the key developmental tasks of early childhood. Play is “the leading source of development in the early years”: it is essential to children’s optimal development.

Publication Information

Hewes, J. (2006). Let the children play: Nature’s answer to early learning. Early Childhood Learning Knowledge Centre, Canadian Council on Learning.



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