September 6, 2018
School is really the focus of my family at the moment. As I begin the last year of my master’s program my son is beginning his first year of preschool. We both get dressed in the morning, have some cereal together, and make our way to class. What we do there, however, is a little bit different. While I spend most of my day engaged in lively discussion with professors and collaboration with student colleagues, his main occupation at school is play — and this is just as it should be. Fred Rogers once said “play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” To my knowledge Mr. Rogers wasn’t an OT, but with this statement he sure sounds like one! I love the sentiment, and am filled with gratitude when I consider what the occupation of play still brings to my life even though my own childhood is firmly in the rearview mirror. Whether playing with trains on the floor when I get home from work, “racing” to see who can put their shoes on faster, or playing the “quiet game” at church, I relish the opportunity to be pulled into the moment by my son’s insatiable appetite for play and am often impressed with how functional it can be for us both. Dr. Kingsley, my pediatric immersion professor, always encouraged us to frame therapeutic interventions into the context of play and now it’s easy for me to understand why. How cool to be in OT school learning things that are not just important for my future career, but also contribute to my being a mindful, deliberate, patient, and informed parent.