The wool felt mat pictured below was created from imagination and memory before we visited this setting last week at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Happening upon this scene has boosted confidence and given confirmation and validity to the representation .
It was also a little spooky seeing a scene that had been created in the imagination and created from years of observation of many different locations so closely resemble a “real” situation.This play mat also features a turtle which was inspired by those seen in the Coomera river last year.
The characters are very small, so are attached by a thread but they still can be freely moved around the river. This small scene also included a platypus.
Handstitched from wool felt this mat was designed to stimulate curiosity and imagination, as well to create an interest and love for nature through play.
D.W Winnicott, a British pediatrician commented that “It is in playing and only in playing that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self”. This quote has also been featured by The Strong, a Museum in New York that is devoted to the history, importance and research of play.
Sadly the value and necessity of play is being compromised as focus shifts to an education that looks to standardised learning and testing and restriction of play time and creativity.This policy focuses on preparing children for exams and career paths thus tending to underestimate the importance of allowing children time to play, dream and imagine so that they can understand better themselves and the world that they inhabit.
To add weight to the value and necessity for play, on January 26th this year, Amy McNeilage, in The Sydney Morning Herald National, reported on the disadvantage of children beginning school at too early and age. She noted that “A Cambridge University expert in the cognitive development of young children, David Whitebread, said ”overwhelming evidence suggests that five is just too young to start formal learning.
The empirical evidence is that children who have a longer period of play-based early childhood education, that goes on to age six or seven, finish up with a whole range of clear advantages in the long term,” he said. ”Academically they do better and they experience more emotional wellbeing”.