Posted 28 January 2015
There is a Teaching School I love to visit near Birmingham for children with special needs. It is an exceptionally warm and caring place. During my last visit, staff explained that creative writing is incredibly difficult for their students who face a double hurdle: their physical challenges and their play deficit. Their disabilities have prevented the day-to-day play that is part and parcel of most youngsters' lives. If you've never played with objects and with friends, how can you play with words and ideas?
Their observation should give us pause to appreciate what play does for all children. Donald Winnicott believed creativity is what gives life meaning, and he said, "Perhaps it is only in playing that the child is free to be creative." He viewed play as the forerunner of art, sport, hobbies, conversation and humour. I believe it is also the forerunner of creative writing.