HOW refreshing to read the brave defence made by Esther Thomas (TES, July 23) for play. Young children work very hard when they play.
Perhaps we could learn from a nursery teacher I met in a school in the Lake District many years ago when my husband and I were co-directing a project on early maths experiences for three to five-year-olds. She was tired of the jibes about her class "just playing" so she abolished the word play and substituted "work". The class caught on - they worked at their painting, on the apparatus, in the book corner ... everywhere.
Doubtless Margaret Hodge and Chris Woodhead would have been satisfied too, had they not been "playing" in their nursery classes at the time.
Dr Julia Matthews 50 Sydney Road Bexleyheath, Kent