The state of play

December 7, 2009 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

As noted by the ASCD community blog, “play is problem solving.” Yet with the trickle-down effects of No Child Left Behind, children in full-day kindergarten programs are only allowed 30 minutes of playtime—upwards of three-hours of every day are spent in formal lessons on developing literacy and numeracy skills, and test-taking. This despite findings from several studies investigating the psychosocial and prosocial development effects of engaging in play: school-time play increases empathy, “reduces tendencies toward delinquency and emotional disturbances, and helps students practice impulse control.”

There are some important and interesting resources from the last week worth exploring:

  • The playtime’s the thing. A Washington Post article about how the the deepening funding debate over the “value of make-believe and other games in preschool.”
  • Forest Kindergarten. A great NYT profile of a Waldorf School program in Saratoga Springs that re-imagines the classroom as embedded in nature.

The KaBOOM! research report provides best practices from initiatives, departments, and programs in 12 different American cities:

  • The Parks and Recreation department in Akeny, IA
  • Playworks in Baltimore, MD
  • The Schoolyard Initiative of Boston, MA
  • The Freiker Program in Boulder, CO
  • Cedar Rapids, IA’s Switch Program
  • Learning Landscapes in Denver, CO
  • Information on Joint-Use Agreements from Greenbelt, MD
  • New York City’s Streets Renaissance Campaign
  • Parkscan in San Francisco, CA
  • Seattle, WA’s High Point Housing Project
  • Play ‘n’ Close to Home in St. Petersburg, FL
  • Sharing Play Space and Responsibility in Tucson, AZ

play, think…
J.R. Atwood

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Jason R. Atwood

I'm an avid trail runner and doctoral student at U.C. Berkeley who studies motivation and the relationship between the mind and body. This blog is a forum to share research, news, and musings about these topics of interest. More

Play is the beginning of knowledge.

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