JIS News

The Ministry of Education will host the inaugural ‘Play Day Jamaica’ on Friday, May 28, in several early childhood institutions, primary and preparatory schools islandwide.
This was disclosed by the Senior Advisor to the Minister of Education, Dr. Rebecca Tortello, in an interview with JIS News.
“Play Day Jamaica is being celebrated for the first time this year on Friday, May 28, during the afternoon segment of the school day and we have asked all schools that are interested to set aside an hour or few hours to do some playing in their schools and see how play can be very valuable in teaching and learning,” Dr. Tortello explained, while noting that information about the event has already been communicated to schools.
“We have sent some information to the schools as to why play is important for a child’s physical, emotional, social, cognitive development and how it teaches children to come up with their own problem solving skills and foster their creative thinking skills,” she added.
Dr. Tortello pointed out that research on play indicates that it is very critical and beneficial to a child’s wholesome development.
According to the Senior Advisor, the games chosen do not have to be costly or complicated. These include Hopsctoch, Ring games, Simon Says, Tag, Hide and Seek, Musical Chairs and Board Games.
“I am asking the schools to come up with their own creative games. I am also asking them that after they celebrate play time, to [let the children] do some drawings of their favourite part of the day and submit them to the Ministry of Education. The Children’s Own newspaper has graciously agreed to print some of the pictures we get of the children learning and having fun, in their September edition of the paper,” she informed, while imploring schools to have ‘Play Day Jamaica’ during the school day.
“We are asking schools to do it during the school day because, unfortunately, in Jamaica we don’t have enough safe places for children to play outside of school, so we thought the way to start it is to use the school grounds which we know are safe places for our children,” Dr. Tortello said.
Teachers, parents, children, counsellors, Members of Parliament and neighbours are being encouraged to participate in this inaugural event.
“We don’t have a culture that necessarily values play as the way a child learns, [but this is] actually a part of a broader play policy that we are working on which is only in draft form now, but will soon go out to consultations, because it is a critical part of the new early childhood curriculum,” she said.
Organisations interested in becoming Play Day Jamaica supporters are being asked to call 502-5799 or email Nicola.robinson@moe.gov.jm. Play Day Jamaica is being co-ordinated by the Jamaica Play Coalition, a network of concerned professionals based at the Ministry.

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