The Right to Play

child plays with rainbow beach ball in large pile of bubbles

Summer is the perfect time to unwind, recharge, and most importantly, have fun! Play is an incredible force that benefits both children and adults, promoting emotional well-being, fostering stronger relationships, and reducing stress. As we eagerly anticipated the start of Camp Keetov, our educators took a moment to reconnect with the joy of play. We explored sensory materials, got creative with recyclables, and fully embraced our playful side.

On those challenging summer days, when the heat or disrupted routines take their toll, embracing playfulness can help us reconnect and regain emotional balance. During tough moments, tapping into a playful mindset and engaging children with a silly walk to the car or a game during cleanup can foster reconnection, ultimately enhancing cooperation and collaboration.

Play is not only immensely enjoyable, but also crucial for children’s healthy development. Child-initiated play nurtures essential skills that are vital for thriving in the 21st century: creativity, communication, collaboration, problem-solving, and initiative. As adults, we sometimes unintentionally hinder children’s learning by offering too much direction during play, depriving them of the opportunity to experiment, test their theories, and develop problem-solving abilities.

Imaginative play allows children to process their experiences, express their understanding of how the world works, and collaborate to give meaning to their ideas. As educator Vivian Gussin Paley beautifully expressed, “We first experience the joy and necessity of belonging to a world beyond the family as we take roles in one another’s imaginative play. Together we are inventing new communities, in which matters of friendships, fairness, and fantasy are accessible to all.”

Play is so crucial that it is recognized as a fundamental right for children in the United Nations 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child. This special code acknowledges that children deserve not only basic human rights but also additional protections that enable them to fulfill their potential. The understanding that children are complete individuals with inherent rights is at the heart of our community.

Over the past year, our ECCs have engaged in conversations about children’s rights, exploring how we, as educators, hold ourselves accountable for upholding and making these rights visible in our schools. As we conclude summer camp and prepare for the upcoming school year, we continue to reflect on the rights of children. How can we advocate for the right to play, not only within our school but also in the broader community?

Want to learn more about our Early Childhood Centers and our educational approach? Reach out to schedule a tour at either our Maryland or D.C. campus, or come to our Open House on August 25. Visit for details.