Learning while playing

by Joseph De Temmerman

Raising children is a continuous process: the first conscious stage a child passes through is mimicking his elders. The second phase is developing his own ideas. The third and actually most significant phase is puberty.

It is that period of mutation during which a human makes the transition from child to adult, it feels its body change, senses the rise of new, indefinite needs, just the moment when adults prefer to keep silent and look the other way instead of giving advice. They rather leave it to their ignorant little friends to fill in the gaps of that knowledge.

Children find out their skills while playing. Both their technical and their social skills. It is while playing that their real character, as well as their future capabilities, their talents become apparent. That’s why children during puberty should dispose of playing grounds with various possibilities. In technical college in my youth, we disposed of an extensive playground, partly a common pasture. It was there that my comrade and I experimented with little bombs. We made them from the phosphorus of matches.

Educational playgrounds should offer a diversity of possibilities that resemble the working methods of future professions, like playing shopkeeper, carpenter, handyman, etc. It is there that the best trained psychologist should be and constantly monitor their activities. My own unsuccessful period at a certain school may serve as an example of what should be improved: accurate intelligence tests to be used as the foundation of a proper school selection for the child.

This supplemented by reports on play conduct by psychologists, will provide the community with better trained and more useful members of society. There are an infinite number of career possibilities nowadays. The preparation thereto at school should now be comprehensive and analytical. A proper educational method should prepare the youth for their human obligations: to make a personal contribution to the evolution and survival of the group they live in. Both as independent workers and employees.

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