Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Play is a NECESSITY!

Caden is 4 and won't attend Kindergarten until fall 2013, but I'm already thinking about public schools and admittedly a little worried about how structured and how play-less they've become.  Recesses have been decreased as well as P.E. time decreased across America.  As this study states, schools are shifting to "a more academically oriented instructional approach as new standards for reading readiness have changed for even kindergarten students."

Benefits of play: (as listed in the same study)

  1. Play enhances physical health by building active, healthy bodies.

  2. Play contributes to healthy brain development.  Play and recess may increase children’s capacity to store new information, as their cognitive capacity is enhanced when they are offered a drastic change in activity.

  3. Play is essential to developing social and emotional ties.  It teaches them skills like cooperation and leadership.

  4. Play is a natural tool that children can and should use to help them overcome challenges and adversity.

I know how important down time, outside play, free play or whatever you want to call it is for our children.  How do I balance this with the new academic trends in public elementary schools?

How do you feel about this? Is there anyway we can make a change in our schools, or voice our opinion?  Are there alternative school programs that you like?


Cambria Felt said...

I have lots of thoughts (obviously since I work in schools) - but I won't bore you with them here. I will say it depends a lot on your school system, and where their emphasis is. I know we have a friend here who has kept her kids home for the first couple years of schooling and does home school, and one reason is because of the play issue - so that's always an option if you're up for it :)

Annie S. said...

Oh man I worry about this all the time. I have really struggled with that while my kids have started school. I am really frustrated with one 15 min recess a day! I have contemplated home school for the first few years or so but have never been brave enough to do it. I wish there was a better balance. The academic is great but do we really have to cram it down their throats the first few years of school. Creative play makes you smart and independent. It also teaches you so much about how to interact socially. Can you tell how much I have thought about this! :)

deb said...

Sounds like we need to chat, Cami! I would love to hear your thoughts! xo

deb said...

I know you have thought about it a lot, Annie and I think we've even talked about it a bit. I don't know what the answer is. I am a little scared to do home school, but I need to do my research on local schools and see what our options are. I love how much you care about your kids... it shows!

Jessica said...

Going with Cambria's thoughts...I am a teacher as well as a mother of a lil' girl who will start Kindergarten in the Fall and can bore you with lots of my own feelings and thoughts on this issue. I am a Kindergarten teacher and to be honest, the quote from above is frightening to me...“a more academically oriented instructional approach as new standards for reading readiness have changed for even kindergarten students.” We are adopting a new Reading curriculum 2013 and piloting the two contenders starting this Fall. One aspect of the curriculum...introducing over 100 sight words/high frequency words to students! We also adopted a new math program this year and the Kindergarten students are learning basic facts up to 10, reading/writing numbers 10 100, and number sense. Gone is the play, social interaction, and just "time to be a kid". In my own classroom, I have tried my hardest to incorporate social "play" as well as movement somewhere/somehow every 15-20 minutes. I work in a low-income/poverty stricken area where the socioeconomic level is quite challenging. Many of our students come in with no prior knowledge, exposure, and lack of basic needs. I hear you and your frustration/contemplation on homeschooling. God always has a plan, and I am sure he has a plan for you lil' ones as well.