Magazine article UNESCO Courier

Child Development through Play

Magazine article UNESCO Courier

Child Development through Play

Article excerpt

RAIMUNDO DINELLO is a Uruguayan professor of the sociology of education. A specialist in educational guidance and training, and an educational consultant with several European and Latin American universities, he has written several works on his speciality.

CREATED in Sweden, the United States and Switzerland, the first toy libraries were institutions which lent out games and toys. Their counterparts in Latin America, known as ludotecas, are something quite different in that their centre of interest has shifted away from games and toys towards the players, who are offered a range of play activities.

In societies suffering from chronic economic crisis, the creation of institutions for play may seem like a luxury. In the name of this misconception those children who most need to play are often deprived of the opportunity to do so. With its interaction between communication and creative expression, freedom and self-discipline, play is extremely valuable in child development and in helping children to fully belong to their culture and society.

Latin American ludotecas seek to do more than fill the gaps in the formal education system. The experience of the network of ludotecas extending from Mexico to Tierra del Fuego which has been set up under the auspices of the Federacion Latinoamericana de Ludotecas (FLALU), created in 1986 on the initiative of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay, shows that they can also help to solve some serious problems of the Third World, such as dropping out of school, illiteracy, juvenile delinquency and marginalization. …

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