oa Journal of Education - Children without play



This article concerns a small-scale research study conducted during the first year of a playwork intervention with abandoned children living in a Romanian paediatric hospital. The children, ranging in age from one- to ten-years-old, had suffered chronic neglect and abuse. They had previously spent most of their lives tied in the same cot in the same hospital ward. They were poorly fed and their nappies were rarely changed. Although able to see and hear other children, they experienced little in the way of social interaction. The article highlights the benefits of the playwork project for the children�s development. It also draws parallels between the behaviour patterns of these children and those exhibited by infant monkeys reared in isolation in research conducted by Harlow. The article quotes extensively from reflective diaries kept during the study in order to identify some of the most significant therapeutic elements of playwork.


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