Saturday, November 14, 2015

Where Has All the Play Gone?

A lot of people, parents and educators alike, are writing about this problem lately. And I have to say, I agree with a lot of what's being said. What I hear from Maeve's teacher, and from Maeve, is that there is almost no time at all for play in today's Kindergarten. She gets fifteen minutes of recess, but the rest of her morning is completely devoted to math, reading, and writing.

Not only that, my daughter gets no gym, no art, no music, no science, and no social studies. She would get some of those if she were in full day kindergarten, which I both can't afford and don't feel she's ready for. Once a week, they get to go to the library, but that's the only "special" her class is allowed.

And yet, so many leading educators and scientists in the field of early childhood development have said that play is the most important component of learning in young children. When I was a child, we had plenty of time to learn reading and writing in Kindergarten, but we also attended specials and had center time every single day. AND recess. And sometimes even assemblies. Of course, when I was in Kindergarten, the state was not testing me at every turn, either.

I wish my daughter could have had the gift of a year of real kindergarten. As it is, I feel she's basically getting a year of training to be a first grader, and that's really not the same thing. I try not to let her know my disappointment in her kindergarten experience because it wouldn't benefit her at all to know things used to be different. At least, not at this point. But I feel a loss, some days, when I ask her what she did at school.

Since she's in AM kindy, we try to get in lots of learning and fun in the afternoon, anyway.

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