Educational psychologist emphasises the value of positive play for kids

Educational Psychologist, Sinovuyo Arosi. Picture. Supplied.

Educational Psychologist, Sinovuyo Arosi. Picture. Supplied.

Published Feb 22, 2024


Sinovuyo Arosi, an educational psychologist, says the SASKO Siyasizana initiative which intends to improve the lives of 5 million children by 2030, will have a positive impact through its focus on promoting psychological well-being and development.

Arosi promotes policies and practices that foster child-directed, positive play.

According to the LEGO Play-well Report 2022, early developmental and social play has mental, physical, and emotional benefits that can help decrease negative outcomes.

It is reported that developing life skills can help youngsters handle future interactions and reduce the occurrence of bullying.

Arosi spoke about the benefits of programmes like the SASKO Siyasizana’s Play Better campaign.

How does an initiative like the Play Better Campaign impact the life of a child?

It addresses the cognitive, psycho-social, emotional, and physical development of children.

How important is the involvement of parents in the initiative?

This campaign calls on parents to not only encourage positive play at home but for them to also participate in child-led play. This enables parents to enter the world of the child and to see the world through the child’s eyes. Playing parents are more attuned to their children, and this aids a healthy parent-child relationship.

I must emphasise that the child must lead this play which means that the child is to choose the game to be played with the parent’s guidance. This helps build quality family relationships as well as confidence, positive self-esteem and good interpersonal relationship skills in children.

How can we best encourage communities to engage in such initiatives?

The beneficiaries of the Play Better Campaign are the children and schools are where children gather frequently. This is why Sasko has asked those who buy their bread to nominate a school or ECD centre of their choice to be recipients of their playground building initiative. I believe that this message must reach our local schools and those who have children in their care. We need to talk about this initiative and share this message with those we are in the community with, so that this message reaches every home in South Africa.

What positive changes can be expected from a child if they engage in such initiatives?

This initiative is a very welcome response to research findings that shows that children who play are healthier, and become optimally developed adults later in life. The benefits of play range from the individual’s cognitive, social, physical, and/or emotional development to their general preparation for adult skilled action, as well as the aesthetic appreciation of the world and its cultures.

These psychological benefits make for resilient children and future adults. Additionally, there are benefits to how children who play are in the classroom and learning environment. For example, the language and problem-solving skills enhanced in the playground are central to school subjects like reading, writing and mathematics skills.

The Star

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