We cannot really value play unless we are really able to see the kind of learning and developing that goes on when play is really unstructured and unappropriated. If we really believed that play is in and of itself important, then I think we would not feel compelled to replace the amazing world of child-directed play with our own overriding sense of what play should be teaching. There is a sort of mastery to unstructured play,of the self, and the will and the world that children cannot achieve when the play is planned by adults. And I think that lack of mastery lingers in ways that we do not yet fully understand.
Anyway, these are just thoughts that have been bumping around in my head all day.