Dhaka University sociology professor Sadeka Halim said that any playground had its own importance if one took into account the mental, psychical and social development of children. Nothing could substitute the importance of having a playground.
She said that socialisation for children, when growing up, was necessary if they were to enjoy all normal aspects of the communal life. When a child went to a common space and shared views — that made him part of a greater whole. If there were no playgrounds, the child would not get the opportunity to develop interpersonal skills and mental attachment to his or her peers.
Sharing could not be taught in a classroom. This was something he or she could receive through socialisation, which he or she experienced on the playground while playing games, said Sadeka.
She said that at school children developed the ability to nurture friendship with their classmates, but any child made more friends in the playground. Friends in the playground became more important than a friend in a classroom, she added.
Sadeka said that children who did not visit playgrounds on a regular basis became addicted to virtual life they could now access through gadgets. And this gradually made them isolated and also frustrated since the important interpersonal aspects were all missing in such indoor games.
A frustrated child would be a burden for any society. But if we could give them opportunity for outdoor games, they would contribute in the society. Children could learn many things in playground which was not possible in a classroom — specially, to grow up as a normal, fully-functional human being and a citizen of the state.
She criticised the current mode of development where infrastructure is the only focus. She felt that human resource development was much more important than development of the physical structures.
She also said that on mental development one could not put a price on, it is simply a priority.
Sadeka said that in most of the cases the policymakers emphasised infrastructural development but they hardly thought about the development of mind and growth in thinking.
From a playground children could develop leadership qualities as well as many other human traits, including how to be considerate to others or to liaise in a group context.
She regretted that most of the playgrounds in the city were grabbed and the remaining few were not regularly maintained.
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