Play is the foundation of children’s learning

January 7, 2011

This is a repost from Buffalo News January 7 2011. Written by Shelby Deck.

“Everything old is new again” usually applies to fashion trends, car design or a myriad of retro themes in home decor. I never thought it would apply to schooling, and certainly not for my kids. When our children were born, we made sure we had the latest gear and educational toys designed by altruistic experts and toy designers to enrich malleable young minds. But despite baby classical music and special characters, at the end of the day it was the box the toy came in that offered the most opportunities for creative play.

Two articles in this paper by columnist John Rosemond recently caught my attention. Before having children, he seemed an old-fashioned and curmudgeonly stick-in-the-mud. Now he is my island of sanity in the middle of the vast ocean of child-rearing advice with his practical philosophies based largely on parenting 60 years ago. He talked about the developmental backlash from children forced to read and write at earlier ages and our country’s unhealthy shift away from free play and outdoor time for young children. He discussed some alarming concerns about brain development, anti-social behavior and attention deficit issues emerging in a society obsessed with screens. Another disturbing trend is the pressure for preschool programs to incorporate computer and television learning for 2-to 5-year-olds because “earlier is better.”

But is it? Just what is a 3-year-old learning at a computer? And who is really benefiting if our literacy rates continue to plummet while diagnoses of ADD and ADHD skyrocket?

view the entire article here.