The Global School Play Day, dubbed locally ‘Play Day JA 2024’, was celebrated by the Ministry of Education and Youth, in collaboration with UNICEF, on February 7.
As part of the activities, Minister of Education and Youth Fayval Williams engaged with students at the McCam Child Development and Resource Centre in St Andrew.
The Play Day activity at the McCam Child Development and Resource Centre underscored the pivotal role of play in education, highlighting its broad-reaching benefits for children’s academic, social, physical, and emotional well-being. In the midst of ongoing educational recovery efforts post-pandemic, evidence continues to affirm play as a crucial educational tool.
Speaking at the engagement, Williams remarked, “The truth is, play allows for development at all levels – cognitive, socio-emotional, communicative, and physical. And we at the Ministry of Education and Youth are committed to supporting the holistic development of children. And we know that this is possible through play. Let’s celebrate play day not just on one day but every day in our schools, at home, and just about anywhere.”
Significance of play
Key partners of the initiative, such as the Early Childhood Commission (ECC), Jamaica Teaching Council (JTC), National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC), Peace Corps, the United Nations (UN), non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and the private sector, have collaborated to organise numerous play day events and school visits, advocating for the significance of play as an effective teaching and learning tool.
Established in 1986 to address the educational needs of children with special needs, the McCam Child Development and Resource Centre focuses on integrating children for mutual benefit. Providing a range of services, McCam offers daycare, preschool, kindergarten, special education intervention, after-school care, and nursery services. The nursery, designed for children aged 1-2 years, focuses on early stimulation, self-help skills, and motor and language development.
The preschool serves children aged 2-4 years, utilising creative approaches to customise learning experiences based on each child’s abilities. The kindergarten programme caters to children aged 4-6 years preparing for mainstream programmes, providing personalised educational plans to develop early academic skills and enhance self-confidence.
Play Day JA events serve as powerful reminders of the transformative impact of play in moulding resilient and well-rounded individuals. They lay the cornerstone for a brighter future within Jamaica’s educational realm, igniting hope and paving the way for lasting progress.