George Bernard Shaw is quoted as saying, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing”. And it’s true isn’t it? As we grow older and take on more responsibilities, we have a tendency to get all serious and not spare enough time to play, which is a shame because I believe that playfulness is the home of creativity, joy and energy. As this happens we forget the old warning to grow old but not grow up and before we know it, life just isn’t as much fun anymore.
Research has shown that people who exhibit high levels of playfulness - those who are predisposed to being spontaneous, creative, fun-loving, and lighthearted - appear to be better at coping with stress, they are more likely to lead active lifestyles and are also more likely to succeed academically. One study found that when study participants were asked to compose sentences using a specific set of words and told to treat the task as work, they exhibited less creativity than those who approached the same task as play. Of course, the paradox is that if you are only playing to gain the perceived benefits then it is no longer genuine play...
So, as it’s half term next week, I set everyone a challenge in assembly this morning...to play as much as possible during the week off. And before you panic, I know that there are exams and tests around the corner, however, the hard work has been done in the classroom and exam success will more readily be achieved with a good amount of fresh air, free time and play under our belts.
John F Gilmour