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Jan Amos Komenský (Comenius) and Play

Much can be learned in play that will afterwards be of use when the circumstances demand it

Jan Amos Komenský (Comenius), Czech educator, 1592-1670

We moved to South Africa when I was 5 years old, and a lot of my memories there are around play.

My sister and I spent hours in our sunny garden, erecting a pulley system between our bedroom window and the small outhouse attached to the kitchen. We sent letters and other items to each other in a matchbox that we pulled along the string line.

I think back on that time and wonder how the experience of migration shaped our play. Letters were an important feature of our lives: letters from school friends in England to say goodbye when we moved; letters from grandparents keeping in touch although we now lived far away. I think about Komensky’s quotation and wonder how our play then helped us in the future, moving away from home, moving to different countries and other transitions my sister and I have experienced.

Play is such an important part of our lives. I wonder how migration shapes children’s play today, and how the current pandemic we are living through shapes play experiences? I wonder how this will be used in the future?

One thing is certain. Play is not a waste of time, and I’m grateful for early childhood educators through the ages who remind us of that!

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