I recently watched a video about children in the Syrian refugee camps. It featured a group of entertainers called “The Flying Seagulls” who went to the camps to entertain the children. Their job was to bring some fun and to create memorable moments for the children. They played games and entertained the children.
Interestingly, they recount how the children were skeptical and weary of them initially. They warmed up quickly and started laughing and smiling. Play is a big part of early childhood and is required for children to feel safe. It allows these children to forget things just for a moment and be children.
Children in these environments are forced to grow up too fast as they rise to meet adult expectations. These children are not given the opportunity to be children and to be carefree. These children are forced to mature and take on roles not meant for a child. This essentially means that their childhood is lost; these children will never get this time back and will never regain their childhood.
These children are not given a voice. They are not listened to nor are they given a choice about what happens to them. Most times, they are just caught in between with very little attention given to their thoughts and feelings.
It is so heart-warming that this initiative is helping to provide these children with a small piece of their childhood.
David Whitebread, director of the Centre for Research on Play in Education, Development and Learning at Cambridge University, says: “Play is something that children do all the time. It’s how we’re evolved to learn. It’s absolutely crucial.”