Spring has sprung in the northern hemisphere and I am reminded of the joys of a new season as tulips and daffodils poke through the earth to bloom in glorious color and tender green leaves unfurl on trees.
While the world feels incredibly heavy at the moment, nature takes no notice. It does what it always does at this time of year, in this part of the world. As long as there is nourishing soil and a bit of light and water, nature always bursts forth with the joy of the new.
Young children, everywhere, are much the same. Given the right conditions, they flourish.
Every child needs a responsive caregiver, a safe environment, and healthy nourishment. Add to that a chance to learn through play, and children can’t help but blossom!
Knowing this, OneSky has always placed play at the center of our programs. From our very earliest days, working in welfare institutions in China, we were inspired by the Reggio Emilia educational approach which teaches adults to be led by a child’s natural curiosity and connection to the world around them – two things that often lead to play.
And over more than two decades, we’ve witnessed time and again the power of play to help even the most traumatized children explore their surroundings, form trusting relationships, and expand their physical and mental capabilities. We’ve also seen how play can reduce the effects of toxic stress on young children, an idea backed up by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Play has helped children we work with in welfare institutions push past physical limitations, and children in cramped urban tenement housing imagine a world that stretches far beyond the four walls of the small rooms they live in.
Amazingly, something as natural as play can help a child learn to regulate emotions, develop social skills, and grow in confidence – especially when that play is led by the child.
OneSky for all children