http://www.allianceforchildhood.net/ Jessica Juarez Learning Through Play How much playtime does your child get? Can playtime be educational? Do you play with your child? Essential Component of Education The National Association of Recess provides the opportunity for young Early Childhood Specialists children to develop and in State Departments of improve many social, life, Education asserts that and physical skills. recess is an essential component of education With the increased pressure and that preschool and to improve achievement, elementary school children increase test scores, and must have the opportunity cover and increasingly to participate in regular demanding curriculum, periods of active, free play nearly forty percent of the with peers. nation’s 16,000 school districts have either modified, deleted, or are considering deleting recess from the daily elementary school schedule. “Recess is the right of every child. Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on Children’s Rights states that every child has the right to leisure time. Taking away recess, whether as a disciplinary measure or abolishing it in the name of work, infringes on that right.” [Skrupskelis, in Clements (2000),126] How Important is Play? “Play is the process through Recess contributes which children learn” significantly to the physical, (Morrison,1998) social, emotional and cognitive development of During the period of time the young child commonly referred to as (Clements,2001). recess, learning occurs in ways not possible inside the A large majority of parents regular classroom. (75%) believe that play is important to children's development. 87% of parents expressed belief that their opportunities for play as children have contributed to their success as adults. The Effects of Recess on the Developmental Domains Social Development Emotional Development Physical Development Cognitive Development Social Development A wide range of social competencies such as cooperation, sharing, Develop a respect for language, conflict rules resolution can be actively practiced, interpreted, and Gain self-discipline learned in a meaningful context during recess. Self-confidence/ self- esteem An important educational and socialization experience is lost when Construct an children are not allowed to appreciation for other participate in free play with people’s cultures and peers on a regular basis. beliefs. Emotional Development Recess may act as an outlet Children learn to express for reducing anxiety and themselves to others. serve as a means by which children learn to manage stress and gain self-control. Learn about their own abilities, perseverance, self- A positive social and direction, responsibility, and working relationship with self- acceptance. peers helps children develop a sense of social They learn how to maintain and emotional and sustain relationships competence. Physical Development Recess provides young The novelty theory claims children with opportunities that on-task attention can to move and participate in be increased by providing physical activities. opportunities for diversion from boredom. The surplus energy theory cites recess as a means for Through active play, young children to release excess children learn about their energy that has built up bodies’ capabilities and over time, while they have how to control their bodies. been sitting in a classroom. Physical activity fuels the brain with a better supply of blood and provides brain cells with a healthier supply of natural substances. Cognitive Development Children develop “Children can remember intellectual constructs and more, focus better, and cognitive understanding regulate their own behavior through the hands-on, better in play than in any manipulative, exploratory other context”.(Guddemi et behavior that occurs during al.,p.5). play episodes and play opportunities. After children practice skills in play, they become ready Play context provides the to utilize these skills in other most appropriate support or contexts(Bodrova & Leong, scaffolding for children as 1999) they develop skills. Just Playing by Anita Wadley Taken from the Early Childhood News magazine When you see me learning to skip, hop, run and move my body, please don't say I'm "Just Playing". For, you see, I'm learning as I play. I'm learning how my body works. I may be a doctor, nurse or athlete someday. When you see me sitting in a chair "reading" to an imaginary audience, Please don't laugh and think I'm "Just Playing". For, you see, I'm learning as I play. I may be a teacher someday. Future Engineers When you see me up to my elbows in paint or standing at an easel, or molding and shaping clay, Please don't let me hear you say, "He is Just Playing". For, you see, I'm learning as I play. I'm expressing myself and being creative. I may be an artist or an inventor someday. When I'm building in the block room, please don't say I'm "Just Playing". For you see, I'm learning as I play, about balance and shapes. Who knows, I may be an architect someday. Don’t Bug Me…I’m Learning When you ask me what I've done at school today, and I say, "I Just Played", Please don't misunderstand me. For you see, I'm learning as I play. I'm learning to enjoy and be successful in my work. I'm preparing for tomorrow. Today, I am a child and my work is play. When you see me combing the bushes for bugs, or packing my pockets with choice things I find, Don't pass it off as "Just Play". For you see, I'm learning as I play. I may be a scientist someday.
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