A Deficit of Play

A friend on Facebook drew my attention to this most interesting article today. 

Interestingly, it begins with ‘When I was a child’….grabbed my attention immediately.

Here is the link  http://aeon.co/magazine/being-human/children-today-are-suffering-a-severe-deficit-of-play/

And here is the first paragraph.  

“When I was a child in the 1950s, my friends and I had two educations. We had school (which was not the big deal it is today), and we also had what I call a hunter-gather education. We played in mixed-age neighbourhood groups almost every day after school, often until dark. We played all weekend and all summer long. We had time to explore in all sorts of ways, and also time to become bored and figure out how to overcome boredom, time to get into trouble and find our way out of it, time to daydream, time to immerse ourselves in hobbies, and time to read comics and whatever else we wanted to read rather than the books assigned to us. What I learnt in my hunter-gatherer education has been far more valuable to my adult life than what I learnt in school, and I think others in my age group would say the same if they took time to think about it.”

 

I agree with the author that the decrease in the amount of free playtime has resulted in  less creative, anxious, disrespectful and overly self-involved children.  

It is time to stop scheduling children’s time down to the last minute and just let them be kids.  Let them amuse themselves so they learn to be inventive. Let them be bored so that they can find things to do, be creative.  Let them experiment so that they can learn safe risk taking.  Let them fail sometimes so that they learn to handle disappointment.  Let them wait for things to happen so that they learn about non-instant gratification.  

Ask them questions. Let them state their opinions and, more importantly, justify them. Challenge children to be clever and watch them astound you with their wisdom.

 

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