Why is play important in the lives of children? What crucial aspects of learning are being neglected in the current near-elimination of recess time in public schools? Playing for Keeps, co-authored by the well-known writer and educational leader Deborah Meier, and two colleagues with equally long experience in schools, explores these questions.
Based on close observations on a public school playground, the book shows children at play in a relatively natural, unstructured environment. The reader is virtually there, seeing, listening in, able to appreciate the children's curiosity, humour, intelligence, and inventiveness. Readers will recognize the children's voices and ways of thinking, and perhaps be reminded of their own childhood, their own children, or the children they teach. The authors comment on the observations, adding to the reader's own perceptions. This lively, engaging book makes a strong case for the importance of free exploration, wonder, imagination, and play to the learning and growth of children. It should contribute significantly to the understanding of all those concerned, professionally or personally, with the welfare of our school-age population.