Movement to restore playtime

Children in their natural learning environment!

I read this line in a New York Times article last week, and felt sad:

“She still remembered her own kindergarten classroom from 1985: it had a sandbox, blocks and toys. But this one had a wall of computers and little desks.” 

The article, Effort to Restore Children’s Play Gains Momentum, was one of the Times’ most e-mailed items last week, which goes to show that the movement is in fact gaining momentum.

Research shows that free play is critical to young children’s development. Yet some schools have eliminated recess and cut back on free play time in the classroom, in order to allow time to fulfill instructional mandates.

At the same time, it seems like we have put all of our faith into technology, at the expense of children’s opportunity to experiment with real, physical materials.

Here’s a parent who is fighting to restore free play, in the form of recess, in her schools. Meg Rosker, mother of three young children, has just launched a new website, Let Children Play, with inspiration, resources, and a petition asking that the elementary schools in her Florida school district include 30 minutes of recess each day.

Her campaign gained national attention, after she was quoted in the Times’ article above. She made time to chat with me today about her concerns that the emphasis on academic instruction, and the elimination of recess in order to accommodate government-mandated instruction, is hurting our children. “There is not a spot of academic evidence that shows that any of this is helpful,” she said. “In fact, it’s the opposite.” She has links to research at the site.

Also see: Joining a National Movement, a Florida Mom Campaigns for Recess

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