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Child’s play is vital to learning. When children play, they become better communicators, problem solvers, and friends. Play also gives children the opportunity to explore self, to discover and define who they are, and to improve memory, focus, brain growth, and brain function, proving that play actually makes children smarter. 

Therefore, play serves a dual purpose for learning: it is fun and it is essential.

Serendipity students engage in two types of play: convergent and divergent.  A convergent problem has one solution; so, too, does convergent play (puzzles are one example). Convergent play tends to make children better at understanding and solving very specific types of problems with one solution. Divergent play such as building with blocks and imaginative play has numerous and often endless possibilities. 

It, therefore, gives children practice at divergent problem-solving. Studies have shown that children who receive more opportunities for divergent play are more likely to accept that there are multiple solutions to problems, are less likely to stop at one solution, are more creative in their approach to problem solving, and have an increased ability to generate multiple solutions to problems.  In other words, divergent play makes children better and deeper thinkers.

Intellectually, we all know that play is good for children. How does that play out, though, when it comes time to transfer play into pedagogy? The challenge for the parent and educator is to slow down, to step away from the sea of specialized knowledge and narrow content we may feel pressured to paddle through, and to resist the urge to overschedule and overprogram our children. This will create healthy space to introduce new experiences that will expand children’s opportunities to improve transferable life skills. These opportunities may be found in collaborative efforts, project based learning, critical thinking and problem solving, creative endeavors, experimentation and healthy risk-taking, and of course lots and lots of play. 

The result: our children will be happier, healthier, smarter, and more successful in the future.