October 2017 saw the launch of a new training in Developmental Play. The first ever course of its kind it was launched last week in rural India and will run here in Singapore for the first time this month.
Developmental play looks at the foundation skills for all learning that begins pre birth (building on the Neuro-Dramatic Play stages of Dr Sue Jennings 1999 and the Art Making Stages of Essame, 2016) and develops through attachment play and sensory-body play growing eventually into higher play and higher thought, which is usually well in place by the primary school years. These foundation stages are what wire the brain for success in later life and this is why they are so important when we are working with children with special needs for without these foundations skills in place the child may never go on and reach their full potential
A new born child begins to understand human relationships through the love of their key carer long before they learn to speak and communicate themselves, rocking, singing and engaging with your child is the foundation of attachment play..love matters! Being massaged, playing in the water in the shower or the rain, rolling, moving and feeling are all part of sensory-body play. Human beings like animals need rough and tumble play, to feel and understand our bodies. Our bodies and minds are so intrinsically linked.
This course took 50 special needs teachers and occupational therapists through the developmental play stages and the photos below show the creative fun that everyone had. It is through rediscovering and understanding that playfulness ourselves and seeing how one stage moves on from another that we can truly help the children and young adults we work with develop these skills to help them learn.