Thursday, 21 February 2013

Children: Play vs Exercise

"Childs Play" by Jon Bratseth
I was startled recently after seeing a story on Prime7 News about fitness classes being introduced into some childcare facilities to ensure toddlers are physically active.

It made me think, what is our world coming too? What has happened to the days of children actively playing independently? Whatever happened to self initiated games such as tag and hide and seek that provided many hours entertainment and well as physical activity with children concentrating in finding finding their missing classmate and being none the wiser about the amount of energy they are burning.

Replacing free play time with structured physical activity and dance may be damaging to children both mentally and physically. Free play allows children to develop imaginative skills, sharing and problem solving ability, all of these skills are developed at a young age and become vital life skills. Also children that are slow developing and may not have the rhythm or coordination of their peers may not feel comfortable participating in an organised session and may shy away from the idea of anything associated with physical activity.

In saying this I do understand where the idea is coming come from, yes a group fitness class ensures children are participating in physical activity on a regular basis and yes physical inactivity in children is a huge problem in Australia, and children are participating in physical activity in a fun and safe manner which are all positives. I just feel such classes are unneccesary, by setting up a learning environment that allows children to create their own play while still allowing their imagination to flourish and learning valuable skills from one another is surely a better option. Exercise should not be a chore for children it should be a way of life!

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