Monday, October 08, 2012

Children Playing

When adults think about children playing, they often think of it using their own, rather than the child's, perspective on psychic reality. ... The small child playing can think about thoughts as thoughts because these are clearly and deliberately stripped of their connection to the real world of people and even things. It is also easy to overlook the fact that the child may only be able to reflect on thoughts and feelings about real-life events during play if an adult is there to provide a necessary frame and insulate him from the compelling character of external reality. Winnicott recognized the vital mediating role children need from adults in order to play. He pointed out that our attitude toward play ``must include recognition that playing is always liable to become frightening. Games and their organization must be looked at as part of an attempt to forestall the frightening aspect of playing. The precariousness of play belongs to the fact that it is always on the theoretical line between the subjective and that which is objectively perceived.'' (1971, pp. 58-59) The very young child's understanding of minds may be developmentally advanced in play because of the segregation of this from external reality, and the avoidance of the sense of encroachment of reality on thought, which the child could otherwise experience. ---p. 263, [ARMDS:FGJT2002]

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