My youngest daughter had a birthday party this weekend. It was a gym party with a dress-up component built-in. The kids were excited to dress up, as most often are.
I wrote yesterday about all of us taking on our set “roles.” And, what’s interesting, at least for children, is their desire to take on roles different from their own roles as kids. Whether it be as a princess, king, doctor, firefighter, teacher, race car driver, etc. there is truly a desire in our youngest members of society to be in roles different from their current ones.
So, what happens in the time from when we’re kids to when we’re adults? Why is it so much more enjoyable, as a whole, for kids to role-switch than their parents?
One big difference is that for kids, there is much less of a risk (or known risk, anyway) involved. Our youngest members of society see role switching as a great way to learn, whereas for many adults, that fear of moving from the status quo prevents us from learning as much as we could.
Another difference is the time provided for play. In most cases, our youngest members of society have more time available to play than those who are adults. And that is important because all play should involve imagination in some way.
Therefore, as we work with our learners, regardless of age, we have to make sure that we build in time for play to occur, and that we make sure that everyone knows that risk should never be a reason to avoid something. And by modeling, both play and risk-taking, we can help others make the move towards role-switching.