Play for health across the lifespan
April 24 2021
It is widely accepted that play is essential for a child’s healthy growth and development, the way in which they learn about the world and their place in it. Steiner schools place play at the heart of the curriculum, recognising that it fires the child’s imagination, curiosity, love of life and of learning.
This new book, co-authored by Class 8 parent Julia Whitaker and published by Routledge this month, expands what we already know about children’s play to examine how play habits developed in childhood go on to influence health and wellbeing throughout the course of our lives.
Play and creative doing. Without it, we are depriving children of the opportunity to protect their own mental health.
We know there is a huge mental health problem because of the pressure that young people are under from a whole range of sources. What is going to help them? Those skills that they learnt when they were young: expressing themselves in ways that felt good, learning social interaction, creatively doing – whether its dancing, art, singing, clay modelling, knitting, woodwork. Play, and having a playful attitude, not only enhance lived experience, but can also determine how well – and even how long – a person might live.
Play, and having a playful attitude, not only enhance lived experience, but can also determine how well – and even how long – a person might live.
‘Play for Health Across the Lifespan’ discusses the role of play at each life stage through a series of ‘case-stories’ written by individuals who have discovered – or rediscovered – the benefits of play for their own health and for those with whom they work. Contributors – including pupil Sonny McLeod, alumna Christina Grohmann, teacher Alistair Pugh and Trustee, Layla Tree from Edinburgh Steiner School – offer contrasting perspectives from the fields of health, education and the creative and performing arts.
The book’s cover is an illustration by former pupil Lizzy Mikietyn.
Play For Health Across The Lifespan: Stories From The Seven Ages of Play by Julia Whitaker and Alison Tonkin (published 18 May 2021 by Routledge) is now available to pre-order from Routledge. Anyone from the school community who is interested in making a purchase is invited to contact Julia for a promo code offering a 30% discount on the purchase price.
Julia Whitaker is to be interviewed by the School for a short documentary, Now We Are Six (in production).