Happy New Year! Children are back and happy. Teachers have returned and are happy to be with the kids, and the school is buzzing once more. Wonder what a school feels like during the holidays without kids? So quiet... No laughter, no play.
I read an article during the winter holidays about play and where we are today. So many things resonated with me--as a parent and teacher. We, as parents want our kids to be able to survive and compete in tomorrow's world. We want to prepare them, we want them to have the skills and academics to succeed. And we want them to be well-rounded...to know music and play an instrument, to be sporty, to succeed at science and Math, to read, to write strongly and to have the vocabulary in multiple languages to converse with the world.
However, what the article drove home was again the importance of play and free play in the early years. The Lego corporation has been getting involved with the promotion of play and helping to spread the word about the benefits of it, according to the Guardian article. Play was found to boost narrative and writing skills, interaction and cooperation. There are current studies being done longitudinally on how play promotes well being and how our brains actually change during play.
What research has found is that: "In the early years--and that's up to around eight-- a play-based methodology makes a lot of sense." Formal literacy lessons--memorizing words and fluent reading have been found not to make children better readers and sometimes do the opposite.
So, as we move forward into the new year and resolve to do the best for our children, let's remember to let them play. Here's a link to the article for your information. Happy New Year 2018!