More Play or More Serious Study?

http://edition.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/12/29/christakis.play.children.learning/index.html?iref=allsearch

In the foregoing article houseparents at Harvard mention the difficulties they see those students having and suggest a more play based curriculum. They ask why the nation doesn’t support this more.

Doesn’t this get down to definitions? Students at *Harvard* have been into very serious studies. Maybe they needed more play – regular play. Most students of the same age in the nation have not had a great deal of serious study. Notice what Barone says in Hard America, Soft America. The nation wants higher grades and figures therefore we need more hard studies. Well, we might. Yes, we do. However, we also need play based curricula at the preschool level. If you know about preschool development you know that we are not talking about regular play meaning do nothing. We mean play based curricula. When a child can get his or her hands on things that help them see how big a meter is, or that 5 + 5 = 10. This really is about better teaching.

At the other end, at high school, drill & kill might teach facts, but there is no curricula in there about social skills. We are lacking social skills, increasingly. Public school, and even most private schools, were not set up to address that. It was assumed that the home did that. But now parents are away from children and may not themselves know good social skills. Further, the physiological problems (that we don’t want to admit let alone research) are greatly excerabating the problem.

Emotional responses from one part of the entire elephant that is society would make for a lot of interaction, and eventually long, tedious boards. But this is the big picture, as I see it.

We can see saw back and forth between drill & kill or play based curricula, and really get swings from hard to soft and never address the problem. We need a more wholistic approach — and it will take good will and improved character — not just adversarial pinpointed policy change.

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