Play is not a waste of time, but vital for a child's development

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 December, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 December, 2009, 12:00am

Under the government's pre-primary education voucher scheme, parents receive HK$12,000 for each of their children attending non-profit kindergarten. It also encourages some zealous parents to send their children to two schools. This policy has attracted a lot of criticism that it will deprive young children of playtime and enjoying a happy childhood.

I strongly believe that play and having fun are indispensable for everyone, not just children. Education today remains exam-oriented, and it is understandable that parents want to give their children a head start in our competitive society. However, children are not machines! They cannot study day and night; they need time to rest and play.

On top of that, it is believed that adults perform less efficiently when they feel stressed. Children are no exception. Only if they feel relaxed and happy will they be more attentive and learn faster. On the contrary, cramming too many activities and studying into their schedule can harm their health.

When we are young, we enjoy the simple and carefree times the most. It is a time to be free of hustle and bustle and of having to deal with mountains of work. As adults, we still treasure those happy times deep in our heart. Surely our children are entitled to no less. No one has the right to deprive them of a sweet and memorable childhood.

Many parents think that children are just wasting precious time watching TV or playing video games in their leisure time, at the expense of their all-round personal growth. So, they try to keep them busy all the time. But this is a mistake. There are many relaxing activities that let children have fun while improving their physical and mental health - going on a family trip to the countrywide for example

Playing and having fun are vital and beneficial to children. It offers them a chance to relax and be creative. Happy, healthy children do better in their studies. I don't believe any parent would intentionally want their child to be unhappy.

Li Wing-tung, Choi Hung