Adult Participation in Children's Worldplay

In The Brightening Glance: Imagination and Childhood (2006), the art theorist Ellen Handler Spitz argues that "[t]he topic of adult participation in children's play is delicate, complex, and controversial," largely due to the overwhelming influence a parent or a teacher or even adult-generated entertainment media can have. Adults must work hard not to impose their owti interests, methods, or judgments upon play activity.

The act of modeling and encouraging can, indeed, be fi-aught with missteps. As spitz observes, it is "difficult" to wear the two hats of modeler/encourager and parent/ dult at the same time. If adult expectations are too high, the child's fiiistratioition)n may urn off playful experimentafion. If the adult adopts a judgmental attitude to elements of play that seem emotionally distasteful or intellectually frivolous, the play activity can get derailed—or go into hiding.

Wield a light hand, however, and when the child withdraws pretense fi-om a outside ie influence and critique—as children tend to do in the very years when worldplay is most likely to take root—^the play will be private but not wholly secret, the kind adults know about but don't participate in. Welcome this privacy as sign of a job well done. The best approach to cultivating worldplay is to do so with little or no expectation in mind and then to step back. Or, as Silvey's collaborators put it, "Adults—keep out."

As must by now be clear, the whole point of worldplay is for the child to invent for him- or herself, according to personal needs and interests. This personal or intrinsic motivation will be far more effective in promoting originality in play than extritrinsiciic rewards and assessments (even when subtle, rewards may make an activity seem like work). Indeed, research suggests that both excessive structure and adult interference suppress curiosity and creativity m children. "Adults," Cohen and MacKeith insisted 'ought to leave children to get on with their imaginary worlds by themselvei^es."


Folksonomies: parenting play imagination world play

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Childhood (0.909874): dbpedia_resource
Creativity (0.893858): dbpedia_resource
Parenting (0.876862): dbpedia_resource
Child (0.872674): dbpedia_resource
Motivation (0.869707): dbpedia_resource
The Child (0.763207): dbpedia_resource
Coming of age (0.704830): dbpedia_resource

 Inventing Imaginary Worlds, From Childhood Play to Adult Creativity Across the Arts and Sciences
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Root-Bernstein, Michele (2014), Inventing Imaginary Worlds, From Childhood Play to Adult Creativity Across the Arts and Sciences, Retrieved on 2018-01-06
Folksonomies: imagination worldplay paracosms