“It is a happy talent to know how to play.” So wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. Indeed, play is a natural skill that gives much joy – not just because it is fun, but because it leads to the development of confident, happy children who are motivated to explore their potential. To this end, Playeum, Children’s Centre For Creativity, was set up to empower children through open-ended play, creativity and the arts.
“Play Is Not A Luxury…. Play Is A Necessity.” – Kay Redfield Jamison
In the pressure-cooker society that we live in, play is often relegated to the last priority. After fulfilling all their commitments for the day, children are left with not much time to make a guitar out of plastic bottles, toilet rolls and rubber bands, or create an abstract “masterpiece” on a piece of scrap paper.
These may sound like random and aimless projects, but open-ended play like this is important for the healthy physical, mental, emotional and social development of children.
Improving their motor skills, sharpening their problem-solving abilities, managing their frustrations at being unable to get it right the first time, and playing with their creations together with other children – this is what happens when children play! It figures that if we keep them playing throughout their childhood, not just in the early years, they can reach their full potential in adulthood.
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Perhaps the most important outcome of play is that children perceive failure not as a bad thing, but rather as a part of the process leading to eventual success. In other words, they become resilient learners. Winston Churchill gives us a good perspective on this when he said, “Success is not final. Failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Playeum, Children’s Centre For Creativity – Where Children Take the Lead in Learning
Playeum, Children’s Centre For Creativity, provides an inspiring space for children to engage in unstructured play and the arts. The design of the environment is intuitive, allowing children to take charge and lead in their own exploration and learning.
Since its inception in 2015, the centre has collaborated with artists from multiple disciplines to host various hands-on exhibitions ranging from ‘The Art of Speed’ where children explore movement, to ‘Hideaways – Creating with Nature’ which introduces the natural world, and ‘I-Opener: Play with the Senses’ which presents the play-worlds of four artists with disabilities.
Through these exhibitions, Playeum encourages children to experience, explore and respond through creative play inspired by the different themes.
“Imagination Is More Important Than Knowledge” – Albert Einstein
Did you know that children are born genius-level divergent thinkers? This is the conclusion of a research conducted by scientist and author Dr George Land, who gave 1,600 five-year-olds a test developed to measure creative thinking, originally meant for vetting NASA candidates. The results were shocking: 98% of those young children were creative geniuses, according to their test results!
However, when Dr Land retested the same group five, ten years later and when they became adults, the number of creative geniuses dropped to 30%, 12% and 2% respectively.
This tells us that children are not what they are conventionally pictured as: empty vessels waiting to be filled. As Charlotte Goh, Executive Director of Playeum said, “Kids are innately creative and compelling. They can learn by themselves and figure things out for themselves by playing.”
Championing Children’s Voices
Playeum is a firm believer in championing children’s voices, so that they can express themselves through play, creativity and the arts – without the fear of judgment.
Accompanying each hands-on exhibition held at the Children’s Centre For Creativity, are vast quantities of materials and tools to enable children to engage in play in their own ways. They can choose to touch and feel the exhibits, make their own creations by upcycling the materials provided, come up with a new game spontaneously using the props provided, get to know new friends – the possibilities are endless!
Children can also find avenues for self-expression at various events, workshops and drop-in activities hosted at the Children’s Centre For Creativity. One of the biggest events organised by Playeum is ‘The Big Draw’, an annual festival originating from the UK that recognises and promotes the universal language of drawing as a tool for learning, expression and invention.
In 2019, Playeum will be holding ‘Make Your Mark’ over the Children’s Day weekend, in conjunction with The Big Draw – a chance for young creators to express themselves through drawing and mark-making.
“Surely All God’s People… Like To Play.” – John Muir
As an independent registered charity, Playeum is here to serve all children, regardless of abilities and socio-economic backgrounds. The Children’s Centre For Creativity is created to be a safe space for all children to play freely and express themselves. A Play-It-Forward Fund also supports free visits for social service organisations, enabling more children to enjoy authentic, unbridled play.
For more information on Playeum and how play can empower your child’s creativity, visit www.playeum.com.
Playeum, Children’s Centre For Creativity
Where: 47 Malan Road, #01-23 Gillman Barracks, Singapore 109444
This feature is brought to you by Playeum, Children’s Centre for Creativity.