Play=Learning: MoE Observes International Day of Play

Written by on June 12, 2024

To commemorate the United Nations’ inaugural International Day of Play on June 11, 2024, the Ministry of Education hosted an exhibition at the National Centre for Education Resource Development (NCERD) under the theme “Play=Learning”. The event featured various departments of the Ministry and several public and private nursery schools. The exhibition aimed to demonstrate the importance of play in a child’s development and general well-being.

During his opening address, Assistant Chief Education Officer (ACEO) with responsibility for Nursery Schools Devindre Persaud explained that play is a fundamental aspect of early childhood education as it allows for experimentation and incidental learning. “Play is a way for all learners to engage with things around them”, Persaud stated. He further shared that play helps children to develop problem-solving skills and creativity. It instils confidence, resilience, empathy and emotional regulation which are critical in relationships. Play also helps to develop communication skills. During play, children negotiate with each other and express opinions through conversation which strengthens their speaking abilities and improves their language proficiency. According to Persaud, “Play-based learning is a successful strategy [in] getting pupils actively involved in the learning process. It improves motivation and memory retention, and makes learning more engaging and meaningful.”

“Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.” – Kay Redfield Jamison

Dr. Lidon Lashley (Left), Ms. Indrani Ramnarine (Center-Left), Mr. Devindre Persaud (Centre-Right), Mr. Marti De Souza (Right)

This International Day of Play exhibition spearheaded by the Ministry of Education’s Nursery Sector in collaboration with UNICEF and UNESCO aligns with article 31 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child which states that “parties must recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.” Thus, the Ministry has been working to incorporate more play-based learning and provide more play experiences which promote children’s Social, Physical, Intellectual, Creative, Emotional and Spiritual (SPICES) development. “The Guyana Renewed Nursery curriculum,” the ACEO-Nursery explained, “was created primarily to give children access to global environments where learning and play go hand in hand.”

Dr. Lidon Lashley, Director of the University of Guyana’s Early Childhood Centre of Excellence (ECCE) encouraged parents and educators to set aside time for play. He asserted that play contributes to healthy eating habits in children by preventing overeating and helps them to learn conflict resolution. He also cited research conducted by UG-ECCE which shows that “children who play here in Guyana do better in every aspect of their daily lives. They are more confident. They are more bold. And they are more eager to … face any challenge.”

Dr. Lashley also pointed out that play is especially beneficial for learners with special education needs and disabilities since they tend to use play as therapy. Research conducted by UG-ECCE shows that children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, who tend to become irritable when they are introduced to unfamiliar stimuli or when their routine is interrupted, “find it calmer to learn through play. They are more settled. They are more relaxed and open to the things that they would not typically be opened to [on] a typical day.”

Deputy Permanent Secretary – Administration, Ms Indrani Ramnarine further advocated for play-based learning. She posited that play inculcates a positive mindset, teaches loyalty, brings about accomplishments and ultimately maintains our youthfulness.


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