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玩游戏促进儿童学习生长

作者: 来源: 时间: 2012-11-13 阅读: 博彩译文

  如果童年时期没有时间玩耍,那可真是糟糕透了。

  事实证明,游戏对于儿童的健康成长是必不可少的。研究表明,积极而富于创造性的玩耍对于儿童发展的各个方面都大有好处。

  美国国立卫生研究院的心理学家斯蒂芬·苏米博士说:“儿童游戏看起来像是一些没有什么目的活动,看起来很有趣,但是实际上,儿童游戏是他们为以后进入复杂的社会进行的准备。”有证据表明,游戏有助于促进大脑功能,强身健体,提高肢体动作的协调性,培养儿童与他人合作的能力。

  苏米注意到,从老鼠到人类的所有的哺乳动物幼崽,都有某些游戏行为。他侧重研究猕猴的行为。尽管他对猴子和人类在行为上的相似性持谨慎态度,他的研究发现还是可以帮助我们更好地了解儿童游戏的好处。

  小猕猴成长过程中活跃而充分的社会游戏,有助于它们大脑的发育,使它们的大脑变得更大,强化了各脑区之间的连接。玩耍也有助于小猴学习如何融入猴群社会,猴群社会一般由3到4个大家庭组成,小的猴群有30多只猴子,最大的猴群可以有200多只猴子。

  苏米说,“猴子和人类都生活在结构高度复杂的社会里。通过玩耍,小猴学会了讨价还价,学会了如何与其他陌生的猴子打交道,学会了打架输了也要有尊严,学会了适可而止,该收手时就收手,学会了遵守猴群里的游戏规则。”这些经验为小猴离开母亲以后的生活做好了准备。

  美国特拉华大学的婴儿语言专家罗伯塔·葛林可夫博士说,游戏对人类大脑的发育可能有类似的效果。游戏可以帮助我们奠定今后学习社会交往技能的基础。如果人类的青少年缺乏玩耍时间,“你的社交技巧可能会比较差。你将缺乏抑制冲动的能力,你从一种活动换到另一种活动时比较困难,你不太会自己一个人玩。“游戏帮助青少年儿童掌握自己的情绪,帮助他们自己作出决定,培养他们的灵活性和积极性,使他们更有自信心。

  葛林可夫说,孩子们游戏的时候不需要用很贵重的玩具,也能获益很多。家长是孩子们最好的玩伴。家长一边跟婴幼儿玩耍,一边跟他们交谈,对他们的语言发展至关重要。那些与他们的父母交谈比较多的孩子们,往往能更好地掌握语言词汇,有助于他们以后在学校的学习。“那些父母很忙,没有多少时间跟他们玩的孩子,语言能力就会不那么发达,” 她说,这里的关键是如果父母不能多花时间跟孩子谈话,孩子长大以后,语言表达能力就差,像个哑巴似的。

  非刻意组织的,创造性的,消耗体力的游戏,让孩子燃烧卡路里,开发锻炼各种身体技能,更好地了解外部世界是怎么运行的。在无拘无束地游戏里,孩子们自己选择玩法,制定游戏规则,学习谈判技巧,释放紧张压力。在自由的游戏里,往往可以天马行空般地幻想。如果他们想了解消防员的工作,就可以按自己的想象,模仿消防员的英雄行动。如果发生了什么可怕的事情,他们也能自由地化解紧张的情绪。

  “体育也是一种游戏,但它不是由孩子们自己主导的那种,”葛林可夫说。重要的是要参与到各种各样的活动中来,包括体育的游戏,社会的游戏和自己一个人玩的游戏。“最关键的是在自由游戏中,是孩子们在主导着这些游戏,他们自己作出一切决定,”葛林可夫说,如果你总是被动地接受别人的命令,你永远无法学会如何做出决定。[长大了也是个奴隶吗?或者是饭来张口的永远的大小孩?]

  现在一些专家担心,孩子们的自由游戏,已经像濒危物种一样少见了。在过去二十年中,孩子们每周的自由游戏时间已经减少了8个小时。各种媒体的屏幕把孩子们吸引到室内。孩子们连续坐着好几个小时,提高了患肥胖症及相关疾病的风险。如果涉及到视频游戏和其他媒体的话,除了限制孩子们连续坐在屏幕前的时间以外,家长们还应该关注其内容,避免色情暴力的东西。

  现在全国上下也有一种要取消学校课间休息活动时间的趋势。繁重的课堂学习以及为标准化考试进行准备的压力,让课间活动无暇进行。坦普尔大学的儿童发展专家凯瑟琳-赫什-帕斯克博士说:“数以千计的儿童已经完全没有了课间休息活动。”“缺乏课间休息活动的后果很严重。小孩子课间休息活动以后,再回到教室,上课就能更好地集中精力。”

  许多孩子,尤其是在那些低收入地区的小孩,缺乏安全的地方玩耍。这使得他们在学校的课间休息时间更难得而珍贵。为了应对这些变化,现在一些教育工作者坚持认为,幼儿园和小学的儿童必须要有固定的游戏时间,以便与其他孩子自由地玩耍。在玩耍过程中学习到的本事,不一定能够在教室里学到。因为美国的肥胖儿童越来越多,学校课间休息玩耍就变得愈来愈重要了。课间休息时跑来跑去,可以帮助孩子们保持健康的体型。

  课堂游戏也很有好处。在一项美国国立卫生研究院资助的研究中,赫什·帕斯克·葛林可夫和他的同事发现,学龄前儿童的数学技能和玩2维,3维积木的能力之间有联系。搭积木游戏,尤其是跟成年人一起玩搭积木的游戏,可以帮助孩子建立起空间技能,使他们可以较早地开始后来的科学,技术,工程和数学的学习。

  赫什-帕斯克说:“从某种程度上讲,每个孩子都是一位天生的年轻科学家,他研究世界上万事万物如何运行。”“我们从未因为长大了,而失去游戏的需要。”较大一点的儿童,包括青少年,也需要游戏和遐想,这有助于他们解决问题的能力和创造性的想象。成年人也需要游戏,以便休息,进行体育活动和社会交往。

  在马里兰州贝塞斯达的美国国立卫生研究院临床中心,首席康乐治疗师唐娜·格雷戈里说:“康乐治疗服务对于病人健康的恢复是必不可少的。” 她和她的团队为儿童和成年人分别设计了不同的游戏活动。游戏可以让病人动起来,哪怕是只有几分钟的活动,也能提高他们的体能。

  医疗游戏帮助孩子正确对待“侵入性”治疗。 2岁的孩子可以用吹泡泡的方法来分散注意力,年长一点的孩子,可以让他们带着自己心爱的泰迪熊,一起进入MRI机器进行检查。在给小孩子打针以前,可以让他们玩给自己的洋娃娃打针的游戏。这样做可以让孩子们有一种控制感,随着他们年龄的增长,更好地理解周围的世界。

  如果没有游戏和娱乐,人们会感到孤立而沮丧。格雷戈里说:“游戏和娱乐帮助病人保持那些他们认为有价值而重要的东西。”“当你进行体育和社交活动时,你会感到你的生命很有意义。”

  译文

  What would childhood be without time to play? Play, it turns out, is essential to growing up healthy. Research shows that active, creative play benefits just about every aspect of child development.

  "Play is behavior that looks as if it has no purpose,” says NIH psychologist Dr. Stephen Suomi. “It looks like fun, but it actually prepares for a complex social world.” Evidence suggests that play can help boost brain function, increase fitness, improve coordination and teach cooperation.

  Suomi notes that all mammals—from mice to humans—engage in some sort of play. His research focuses on rhesus monkeys. While he’s cautious about drawing parallels between monkeys and people, his studies offer some general insights into the benefits of play.

  Active, vigorous social play during development helps to sculpt the monkey brain. The brain grows larger. Connections between brain areas may strengthen. Play also helps monkey youngsters learn how to fit into their social group, which may range from 30 to 200 monkeys in 3 or 4 extended families.

  Both monkeys and humans live in highly complex social structures, says Suomi. “Through play, rhesus monkeys learn to negotiate, to deal with strangers, to lose gracefully, to stop before things get out of hand, and to follow rules,” he says. These lessons prepare monkey youngsters for life after they leave their mothers.

  Play may have similar effects in the human brain. Play can help lay a foundation for learning the skills we need for social interactions. If human youngsters lack playtime, says Dr. Roberta Golinkoff, an infant language expert at the University of Delaware, “social skills will likely suffer. You will lack the ability to inhibit impulses, to switch tasks easily and to play on your own.” Play helps young children master their emotions and make their own decisions. It also teaches flexibility, motivation and confidence.

  Kids don’t need expensive toys to get a lot out of playtime. “Parents are children’s most enriching plaything,” says Golinkoff. Playing and talking to babies and children are vital for their language development. Golinkoff says that kids who talk with their parents tend to acquire a vocabulary that will later help them in school. “In those with parents who make a lot of demands, language is less well developed,” she says. The key is not to take over the conversation, or you’ll shut it down.

  Unstructured, creative, physical play lets children burn calories and develops all kinds of strengths, such as learning how the world works. In free play, children choose the games, make the rules, learn to negotiate and release stress. Free play often involves fantasy. If children, say, want to learn about being a fireman, they can imagine and act out what a fireman does. And if something scary happens, free play can help defuse emotions by working them out.

  “Sports are a kind of play, but it’s not the kids calling the shots,” says Golinkoff. It’s important to engage in a variety of activities, including physical play, social play and solitary play. “The key is that in free play, kids are making the decisions,” says Golinkoff. You can’t learn to make decisions if you’re always told what to do.

  Some experts fear that free play is becoming endangered. In the last 2 decades, children have lost an average of 8 hours of free play per week. As media screens draw kids indoors, hours of sitting raise the risk for obesity and related diseases. When it comes to video games and other media, parents should monitor content, especially violent content, and limit the amount of time children sit.

  There’s also been a national trend toward eliminating school recess. It’s being pushed aside for academic study, including standardized test preparation. “Thousands of children have lost recess altogether,” says child development expert Dr. Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek of Temple University. “Lack of recess has important consequences for young children who concentrate better when they come inside after a break from the schoolwork.”

  Many kids, especially those in low-income areas, lack access to safe places to play. This makes their school recess time even more precious. In response to these changes, some educators are now insisting that preschool and elementary school children have regular periods of active, free play with other children. The type of learning that happens during playtime is not always possible in the classroom. School recess is also important because of the growing number of obese children in the United States. Running around during recess can help kids stay at a healthy weight.

  Play also may offer advantages within the classroom. In an NIH-funded study, Hirsh-Pasek, Golinkoff and their colleagues found a link between preschoolers’ math skills and their ability to copy models of 2- and 3-dimensional building-block constructions. Play with building blocks—and block play alongside adults—can help build children’s spatial skills so they can get an early start toward the later study of science, technology, engineering or math.

  “In a way, a child is becoming a young scientist, checking out how the world works,” says Hirsh-Pasek. ”We never outgrow our need to play.” Older children, including teens, also need to play and daydream, which helps their problem-solving and creative imagination. Adults, too, need their breaks, physical activity and social interaction.

  At the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, “Recreation therapy services are seen as essential to the patients’ recovery,” says Donna Gregory, chief of recreational therapy. She and her team tailor activities for both children and adults. Games can get patients moving, even for just minutes at a time, which improves their functioning.

  Medical play helps children cope with invasive procedures. A 2-year-old can be distracted with blowing bubbles; older kids can place their teddy bear in the MRI machine or give their doll a shot before they themselves get an injection. It gives kids a sense of control and supports their understanding in an age-appropriate, meaningful way.

  Without play and recreation, people can become isolated and depressed. “There’s therapeutic value in helping patients maintain what’s important to them,” says Gregory. “When you are physically and socially active, it gives life meaning.”