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Yes, Play is Crucial!

 

Children's Flying Creations
Children’s Flying Creations

When did you last play? How about your employees or your students? As Linda Stone pointed out in her blog A More Resilient Species, self-directed play (experiential, voluntary and guided by one’s curiosity) is essential for developing resilience, independence and resourcefulness, let alone creativity. She quotes scholar Brian Sutton-Smith, “The opposite of play is not work. The opposite of play is depression.”

This kind of play can’t be guided by adults—adult-directed soccer or chess club or playground games have their place, but they don’t build the same skills as exploring your own interests, or negotiating with other children as you form your own club or develop your own game or turn a tree house into a castle.

And this kind of play does not happen at the expense of time spent on academics. In fact, researchers are finding that creative play is essential to the kinds of learners we are aiming to create: scientists, innovators, inventors, creative problem-solvers, great writers, and more.

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Are Either/Ors Slowing You Down?

“Beware the Either/Ors” is as important a consideration for school reform as “What will best help students learn?”

Last week, Annie Murphy Paul’s blog Why Kids Should Learn Cursive (and Math Facts, and Word Roots) got a lot of attention. She cites some excellent reasons and points to

…a raft of recent studies supporting the effectiveness of “old school” methods like memorizing math facts, reading aloud, practicing handwriting, and teaching argumentation (activities that once went by the names drill, recitation, penmanship and rhetoric). While the education world is all abuzz about so-called “21st-century skills” like collaboration, problem solving, and critical thinking, this research suggests that we might do well to add a strong dose of the 19th-century to our children’s schooling.

Note she says Add these old methods rather than use Only the old methods.

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