Local News

International Day of Play: UNICEF Champions Reintroduction of Play in Adamawa Schools, Homes.


By Tasi’u Hassan

Recognising the importance of play in child development, the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF has taken steps to reintroduce various forms of play among children at homes and schools in Adamawa State.

This is as UNICEF trains 194 parents and primary school teachers from Fufore, Guyuk and Hong local government areas on positive parenting techniques through play.

The initiative coincides with the first-ever International Day of Play, which was celebrated worldwide on Tuesday, 11 June 2024.

United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution designing June 11 as the first-ever International Day of Play. The resolution recognises the importance of play in promoting education, development and the well-being of children around the globe.

According to LEGO’s “Play Well Study 2024,” on average, three in five children would like to play more than they do now, while four in five children would like to play more with their parents or caregivers. The research also shows that eight in ten children say adults don’t always think playing is important and seven in ten don’t believe adults take play — and how it can help them learn — seriously.

UNICEF estimates that 160 million children around the world are working instead of playing or learning. Yet, even in their darkest moments, children can find their way back to hope, health, and happiness through play.

Speaking during the training at Central Primary School, Fufore, the UNICEF Educational Consultant, Adamawa State, Mr Joel Isaiah Jutum, says schools have now been made to become so formal, concentrating more on literacy and numeracy alone.

“We want to minimise the school being just a formal structure, we need to reintroduce those good play that used to happen in the olden days back to the school because the development of the child has to do with his physical development, mental development, social development, among others “, he explained.

According to him, the 4-day training entails introducing parents to the fun activities they need to do with their children at home to support their development and guiding pre-primary school teachers on the type of activities they need to do with children to enhance their language development.

For the teachers, Mr. Joel says “There’s an aspect of the activity that has to do with the cognitive development of the children. Development of their mind, development of their thinking, and development of their reasoning faculty”.

The UNICEF Educational Consultant stated that the trained teachers and parents will practice these activities with children in schools and homes, explaining that UNICEF would collaborate with the State Universal Basic Education Board to monitor how they are implementing it.

He said play builds the skills of children and strengthens the bonds between parents and children as well as children and their teachers.

Mr Joel called on parents to engage their children in meaningful play at home while advising governments to encourage play among school children through the provision of recreational items and other necessary supports.

He said essential materials for play such as basketball, football, handball, jerseys and ECD kits have been provided to the implementing schools by UNICEF, to ensure the success of the initiative.

Mr Joel noted that for now, they are starting with children from age 3 to 12, explaining that subsequently, the age bracket will be moved from 3 to 17.

Sharing her experience, a participant and mother of 8, Mrs Cecelia John, said last year she attended a similar training, and since then, she has been engaging her children and those of her neighbours in different forms of play, a development she said has brought her children closer to her.

A community leader in the Fufore local government area, Malam Muhammad Jijjiwa, appreciated UNICEF for the training and advised parents to always create time and space for play with their children to strengthen parent-child relationships.

About the author

Zakariyya Aliyu Gwaram

Official Website of NAS FM Yola 89.9.

Leave a Comment