Friday, July 29, 2011

What Do You Think? 

When science demonstrates and continuously reports that play and physical activity leads to optimal brain development and enhanced learning.... why do you think so little of it occurs at school and daily life for children? 


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Unknown said...

I think there is the assumption that kids get enough play time at home, but unfortunately that seems to have diminished too.

July 29, 2011 at 3:07 PM
Susan Mason said...

I find this so sad. In our "quest" for superkids- we push academics at toddlers and preschoolers in hopes of gaining an edge. Studies show that young children need LOTS of play to learn self-regulation and problem solving skills.

July 29, 2011 at 3:47 PM
Anonymous said...

This is such an important topic because children do learn best through play. They exercise their bodies, use their uninhibited imaginations, learn to problem solve, socialize, resolve conflicts, create, enrich their vocabularies, satisfy their amazing curiosity, and the list goes on.

Due to budgetary constraints, many school districts have eliminated "specials," such as physical education. Some children are involved in recreational activities but, of course not all have the same opportunities. Many suffer from "Nature Deficit Disorder" and do not get to experience unstructured play, partly due to safety concerns in today's society, and also because the influence of "small screen media."

Instead of playing as we did back in the day, children are becoming more and more passive as they spend their free time playing video games, are on iPads and iPhones, watching t.v, etc. I will sit down to check email and when I look up, two hours of my life have passed by and I really haven't accomplished much of anything. There is always another link, another site, another friend.

When little kids get into the habit of using media as a primary means for entertainment, it becomes habitual and interferes with the ability to form a foundation on which to learn. I saw some information from the APA which recommended no media exposure for babies under 2, and 7 - 10 hours per week over the age of two. I also read that, by age 60, the average adult has watched 15 YEARS of television! I wonder what that number will be 20 years from now.

I agree with Mrs. Mason ~ preschool has become kindergarten, kindergarten has become first grade, and so on. There is a push to inundate children with information before their brains are ready to receive it and it is too much, too soon.

We always have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of children so, for example, reading to them just 20 minutes daily (even older kids enjoy this time with their parents) is a great place to begin!

July 29, 2011 at 11:28 PM
Deborah McNelis said...

Thank you all for the responses and valuable contributions to this discussion!

Play is so extremely important and yet it is not valued, understood and supported enough for children to achieve the benefits.

It is critical that those of us that "get it", ensures that everyone else does as well!

August 2, 2011 at 12:54 PM


In my experience in the early childhood world, I see that those of us who know this need to be a stronger advocacy voice in our communities (through United Ways as well as other family-friendly nonprofits) to get PSAs out where the general public can hear about these important facts. In general, the public (and even many child care providers) haven't tapped into the research we all embrace on this group and the voices for the "academic hothouse" approach that one of our friends mentioned in this thread is the steady diet that everyone hears.
I also see that play is an excellent way to grow literacy skills, without a strict, worksheet/flashcard approach, and the literacy children gain in this environment is more valuable to them in their growth toward reading and writing.

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