For children playing is more than just fun; it is essential for children¿s growth and wellbeing. Play is so important to optimal child development that it has been recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child. This course explores this connection between different types of play and children¿s development in four arenas: social, emotional, cognitive, and physical. In order to promote optimal learning and growth in children, it is important to recognize that these cognitive, physical, social, and emotional systems are intertwined. In this course students will not only learn about play, but also examine their own play experiences and histories. Using readings, recordings of children at play, videos, presentations, and reflections we will delve into the experience of play for children and ourselves. The course is rooted in the play experiences and philosophy of Bing Nursery School, a laboratory school at Stanford. For over 50 years it has been engaging children in play-based learning experiences.