Play, playfulness, and learning
Twenty-first-century European society maintains a clear distinction between what is described as work and what is described as play. This chapter provides a brief survey of some of the ways in which inhibitions in play may manifest themselves in the classroom or playground. There is a major role for teachers in fostering play and in promoting a playful approach to learning. Imitation is an important element of play, but it is a cause for concern if a child’s play is purely imitative. By observing a child’s play over time and in a variety of contexts, and by examining both the content of the play and the impact on the observer, it may be possible to reach some conclusion as to the internal-world experience of the child. This kind of observation would inform classroom practice as well as any individual educational or therapeutic intervention.