20 April 2007

Symbolic Play in a War Zone

Symbolic play is an important developmental stage children go through, in which they demonstrate cognitive skills. Symbolic play begins with children engaging in highly familiar activities from their world. My daughter used to get our on her wooden Radio Flyer Classic Tiny Trikeand pretend she was going to fix our hydro turbine. For children growing up in a war zone, their symbolic play obviously takes on the characteristics of their unsettling environment.

I've managed to avoid the media since the tragedy at Virginia Tech, but this sort of tragedy occurs daily in Iraq, and children's development is being affected. Hometown Baghdad covers such a tragedy in the below video. "One of the great tragedies of the violence in Iraq is the
emotional toll on Iraq's children. In this installment of the Hometown Baghdad project, Adel interviews his young brother and cousin, who have just witnessed a dying man crying near corpses, one an 11-year-old boy. The interview is juxtaposed by footage of the two young boys playing
vigorously with toy guns."

"Play is the highest form of research." -Albert Einstein