A recent article in the New York Times caught my eye and I just had to share what some of us know is common sense and what others continue to ignore. The latest research about playing, games and learning continues to build its case. This article was written byWhat Babies Know About Physics and Foreign Languages. This is exactly what many of us educators have been discussing as the controversy continues over whether playing is a real learning experience. Yes, play is learning and the most effective form of learning is through play! Last year I shared some videos discussing this very concept, Play is Learning – Watch! The message is once again loud and clear: Kids Need to PLAY!
Schools are a modern concept. Children were learning thousands of years before the industrial age model of school came along. Which BTW isn't it still the standard model in most countries? New studies show that even the youngest children’s brains are designed to learn from observation and social interactions. We need to focus on the basics of appropriate parenting practices and learning will come naturally as it always has.
The New York Times article really hit home as I just started reading an advance copy of a new book slated to come out in September titled Understanding Kids, Play, and Interactive Design by Mark Schlichting. He writes, "Play is universal. It transcends different kinds of learning modalities, meaning that kids learn more easily through play than through traditional classroom instruction". How many ways do we have to say it, how many more research papers have to be published, how many more children will have their creativity or confidence crushed by what our society considers proper learning?
It's this paragraph in the NY Times article that I will leave you with, listen up - don't be a helicopter parent, you are doing your children a disservice!
New research tells us scientifically what most preschool teachers have always known intuitively. If we want to encourage learning, innovation, and creativity we should love our young children, take care of them, talk to them, let them play and let them watch what we do as we go about our everyday lives. We don’t have to make children learn, we just have to let them learn.
"Play is an arena for children's social, emotional, and cognitive development." Jo Booth