CHILDREN'S PARK, INDIA GATE, NEW DELHI
Site Development & Landscaping of Children's Park, India Gate, New Delhi
Play is child's work, he does not need to be taught how to play, and he inherits this faculty and is born with it. Play is the process of learning for him by which he understands the real world around him and many facts of life. The play for him is also the search to explore and discover for himself his relationship with rest of the environment, which is a part and parcel of him.
Work and play are inseparable for him, in fact play becomes the work for him and achievement of the work gives him confidence in developing his potentialities which are essential for his overall mental and physical growth and for developing the right kind of personality. If you limit this experience at the time when it is needed most you are denying the proper development of the child and consequently in the long run breeding an unhealthy society and a nation.
This is well established fact that faculty of a child learning new things is comparatively much greater than an adult. He as a child does half his leaning before he reaches the age of four. He learns next thirty percent before he is eight and only twenty percent he learns during the remaining years of elementary and secondary education.
Child learns himself by doing the things and much of it isthrough play. Although he does not learn by a conscious and intellectual effort but by physical involvement when he is busy in testing his developing skills and powers against new challenges. As a consequence of his discovery through play process Childs curiosity is triggered by his brains capacity to explore. The brain is stimulated by sensation of touch, smell, sight, sound and taste which are sorted out and organized into separate sensations forming concepts and ideas which becomes a vital learning tools for him.
Therefore it would be appropriate to consider play not a wasteful activity or less important than work. Itis not right to consider it distraction towards work, but it is essential and fundamental to learning process of understanding and finding facts.
The traditional thinking of play space as a conglomeration of isolated equipment like swings, slides, sea-saws, or a monkey bars placed in a left over place or in a space without due consideration to its environment is unsound. Such spaces are ineffective as a meaningful play environment and in the long run retard the perception of a child, deadened his curiosity to explore and learn and at times induce the sense of frustration which ultimately may lead to development of aggressive traits in child behavior.
Not much thought is given to manufacturing of play equipment. At times the equipment pieces are defective. The standard slide equipment in our country is invariably defective. Its inclination is too steep, width minimal with unguarded sides resulting often in falls and injury. Steps to climb the ride are too high for young children to negotiate and often frustrate them in their efforts. Swings which may look safe often have become cause of injury to young ones because of their seats which often are made of hard materials and sometimes in metal. There are many play equipment which have inherent defects in them and should be discarded from the play area.
The environment of teenager is a broad based. The teenager is neither a child nor a mature adult. He is someone between the two. His physical and biological needs are different. They have tremendous energy, both physical and intellectual. They are restless vibrant and motivated and above all action oriented.
Generally a teenager is much more aware now than his parents were because of advances in science, technology and communication. The present day schools do not have appropriate play facilities to channelize their energies towards a meaningful purpose. Play and study is thought to be separate process. A drastically new approach towards play needs to be considered where the studies could become the part of the play.
Providing of only playgrounds for a ball game hockey, cricket or football or few facilities at gymnasium are not enough to constitute a play environment for a teenager. These activities are only single dimensional while young people have many dimensions and potentialities. To wish that few athletic facilities provided would keep teenagers engaged and out of trouble is rather a wishful thinking. It is the purposeful activity rather than its diversional nature which is meaningful for teenager. Designers of physical environment may have their own way of thinking what would be appropriate for a teenager but the real answer lies in what he actually wants. . For a design to function well a meaningful dialogue is necessary between the client, user and the designer. Experiments have shown that play areas have proved much successful where children are involved in building their own facility with adult advice and help.
In our country teenagers form considerable number of our population. Their dissatisfaction and disorientation is evident because there is nothing which can keep them occupied. There are no proper places where they can go. They spend their time and energy in the manner which is contrary to the establish norms of right behavior for the society. There energies are channelized by undesirable elements in the society or by unscrupulous politicians who exploit them for their own gains.
The present day designer for the play environment faces the great challenge in designing appropriate environment for play of all age groups because of the changing times and the advances in science and technology which have opened up new dimensions of understanding the activity of play.
What physical shape the play environments should take to fulfill the growing needs of the present day children depends on many factors such as locational, economic and social structure of the community and also would differ from region to region.
If the play and the work for our growing young population have to be meaningful we would have to rethink on our organizational structure of our school system where we could build integrated play and work environment. The school buildings would not remain fortresses in a community where recreation facilities are lacking but could be thrown open to children after the school hours with additional facilities for a rightful play and work environment.