• Ishani Shah-Verdia

Decision-making, perseverance and co-operation! Emerging behaviour patterns from child-led PLAY.

Updated: Jul 26, 2020



Cosimo, age, 5.5 years balancing and walking on the periphery of a wall. Risky play offers a matchless opportunity to exercise one's own cognitive capabilities to assess and make judgement about the physical risk one can take.



Raedita, age, 4.5 years was observing Cosimo balancing and walking confidently on the periphery of the wall. Raedita decided to go near Cosimo and explore her own capabilities. We can see Cosimo teaching Raedita how to walk on this wall. We can also see Raedita observing with intent to learn from Cosimo.

We can also observe an expression of sheer excitement on Cosimo's face when he sees his friend attempting to walk.

We can then see Raedita attempting to walk and she assessing that the level of risk is not worth her physical capabilities to take. She arrives at a decision after listening to the commands from her brain, heart and body that she will rather walk on the opposite side which is safer to walk.


As a result of a powerful trustful, loving, safe space, we are seeing children exercise their physical and cognitive needs. We also see a beautiful friendship emerging that is based on deep understanding of each other's capacities and co-operation.


Cosimo calling out to Raedita to walk out of her comfort zone and try and walk on the riskier side. Raedita deciding to stick to the safer side since this is what her brain and body is telling her to do. She is listening to herself and exercising her heart and brain muscles to make a decision on a real time basis. Most of us need a friend who motivates us to walk out of our comfort zone and respect our choices at the same time, don't we?


Raedita then decides to come down from the wall and practice her balancing skills on the ground while Cosimo pretends to be a ghost in the background. Raedita, who is otherwise sensitive to loud noises is unshakable in her focus to learn to balance. When we are driven by an intrinsic motivation to learn, do we need stickers or stars to learn?





Raedita finally did it. She practiced, she analyzed and found the courage within herself to be motivated to walk on the periphery. She did feel fear while walking, but, she was feeling confident to take the risk nevertheless.

All this while, the adults present on campus were only silent observers. All the decisions were driven by children.


I wish I was able to capture on camera the joyful, proud smile on Raedita's face when she finished walking from one side to another side of the periphery.


Perseverance, courage, co-operation, intrinsic motivation, assessment, decision making are the essential life skills without which adults of tomorrow will be dramatically disadvantaged in their professional as well as personal life.

That day gave us a clear vision of the adults of tomorrow. We see our youngest children growing into the resilient, supportive, persevering, clairvoyant, capable adults of tomorrow. Aren't these the qualities that our future leaders need to possess?


Human beings receive a golden opportunity in their formative years to create a behaviour pattern (a recurrent way of acting by an individual or a group toward a given object or in a given situation) and it is our responsibility as parents and teachers of young children to stand-up for the valuable lessons and behaviour pattern that is arising from pure, true child-led PLAY.


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