Bring Play back into Schools
After a three month hiatus from blogging, the OFY team is back. We had a summer filled with travel, softball, spending quality time with the family, and relaxing. We are off to a great start this school year and we are enjoying working with a variety of students and watching eagerly as their fine motor, gross motor, speech, language, and social skills develop.
Working in elementary school, we are constantly reminded of the importance of play. But, due to the many standardized and non-standardized assessments, it can often be difficult to fit play into the already packed schedule. Usually, play consists of a brief 20-minute stint on the playground after lunch.
Teachers in Washington state are pushing for more play in the classroom and fewer tests for children under the age of eight. According to Pat Byrne, the State School Teacher's Union WA President, research showed that "play-based learning was better for children in terms of well-being, academic outcomes, problem-solving, and social skills."
Research is also showing that "children develop anxiety because of formal expectations beyond their normal developmental stages." We can also see behavioral problems stemming from young children being required to start learning to read and write before it is developmentally appropriate.
Child development tells us that children learn best through play and experiences, but perhaps society is not ready for that realization. As a parent, though, you can ensure that your child is learning best by providing them with many opportunities to play and diverse experiences. The Our First Year infant backpack and toddler tote are a great way to encourage play in your child from birth. Providing your child with purposeful play opportunities is easy...it's all in the bag!