This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Genius of Play; but all opinions and text are my own.
These days, parents have a lot to think about. Sure, parents have always had a lot to think about; but there seems to be more pressure and judgement now. What should we feed our kids? How much screen time should kids get a day? Should we encourage them to be competitive or just let them play for fun?
Two of the things we can all agree on are:
It is important for children to play.
It is important for children to learn.
When we send our kids to school, we want them to get a quality education. So, where do we draw the line between play and learning at school? Some would say that it should be limited to the 30 minutes of recess offered at schools, while others say that is not enough.
Schools are placing more and more demands on children these days with testing, demanding course loads, and high expectations. While I do believe that we should push our kids to be the best they can be, I also believe that they should be allowed to experience learning through play.
As adults, most of us probably prefer workshops where we get to put our learning into practice. Adults call this practical application, while children would call it playing. As the famous Mr. Rogers once said, "Play is often talked about as a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning." He believed that, "Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning."
Not everyone is an auditory learner. In fact, there are 4 types of learners:
Teaching or reviewing a topic, and then allowing children to play games and interact with that information incorporates all 4 types of learning. This allows everyone the chance to learn in a way that suits them. Everyone learns better when they are enjoying it. If given the chance, wouldn't you prefer a hands on activity to a lecture?
While we are on the subject of play, let's talk a little bit about recess. When my son gets home, that is the part of the day he talks the most about. Does that mean he didn't learn anything the rest of the day? Of course not. What it means is that he really needed that break to go outside and use his imagination, get physical, and just be himself. All children need a release during the school day.
No one wants to sit in a room and listen all day long. I've been to all day conferences, and even they know that keeping you cooped isn't a good idea. What do they do? They schedule breaks (usually more than one) throughout the day. So why do kids only get a single twenty minute break for recess?
Worse yet, some schools don't even mandate daily recess for their students! I would love to know what student behavior looks like in those schools. My kids can barely handle sitting still for a 2 hour movie without a break, let alone an entire day.
According to the Genius of Play, there are 6 major benefits of play for child development that include:
Check out what some other parents had to say about play at school:
As with everything, balance is definitely important. Too much of anything can lead to trouble. Check out this article about The Importance of Giving Kids a Balance of Play by Talia Filippelli.
We want you to weigh in and voice your opinion. What are your thoughts on play and school?