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Think back to your childhood. Was every minute filled with stimulation and structured activity? Probably not. What happened when you got bored? It’s likely that your imagination kicked in! Speech-Language Therapist, Nikki Heyman, writes in a recent blog post, “We are not failing our children by not giving them every imaginable opportunity”, arguing that boredom can encourage unstructured, symbolic play that, in turn, promotes creativity in children. Heyman encourages parents to “think about the value of leaving your child to play”, rather than trying to fill their boredom with new, flashy toys and structured activities. Read more of Heyman’s blog post, “Play without toys” here. Pamela Paul, writer for The New York Times, also discusses the topic of childhood boredom in her recent article “Let Children Get Bored Again”, referencing specific research that suggests there can be positive outcomes, such as increased creativity, as a result of boredom.

At BVWS, all of the Early Childhood Classes offer a time for  “work and play”.  This creative play is taken very seriously in a Waldorf preschool class.  It is a time when the child’s imagination can flourish and when social activity, initiated by the children, can take place.  The materials for the creative play are varied and beautiful: silks, large cloths, stones, pine cones, shells, logs, capes, and crowns.  These materials are unformed and non-specific and offer the children an unlimited, unrestricted canvas for play.  One day the children may set sail on a ship, the next day the same toys may become a castle or a restaurant.  In their simplicity, the materials serve the free flow of a child’s mind so that the child’s imaginative qualities flourish and create a strong foundation for creative thinking in later life. Upon entering a Waldorf Early Childhood classroom for the first time, many parents experience a sudden sigh of relief, a deep sense of relaxation and security, and a feeling that “oh yes, this is childhood as it should be.”

Bibliography

Heyman, Nikki. “Play without Toys.” Talking Talk, 28 July 2018, talkingtalk.co.za/play-without-toys/. Accessed 14 Feb. 2019.

Paul, Pamela. “Let Children Get Bored Again.” The New York Times, 2 Feb. 2019,
www.nytimes.com/2019/02/02/opinion/sunday/children-bored.html?fbclid=IwAR0OZlqjfLvn85TV6KZiqpyMsm8Jv4aWwJr50zkPtooT4lLWY4ZBR3d87-c. Accessed 14 Feb. 2019.