Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year's Resolution: Play More!

My boys playing with their cousins
Happy New Year, Everyone!!  I have high hopes for 2013 to be another full year of laughing, loving, living, and lots of meaningful learning!  If you're looking for a New Year's resolution for your home school maybe you could adopt this one:  Play More!!

I know we often think of play and work as being opposites, and for adults they often are.  For kids, however, they go hand in hand.  Consider these famous quotes:

"Play is the work of the child." ~Maria Montessori

"Play is a child's work." ~Jean Piaget

Not only do children need to learn to play and play to learn, but they also need breaks while they are learning.  I don't mean just physical exercise like an organized sport or activity.  I also don't mean rests such as laying on the couch reading, or watching a show, or video game.  I'm talking about free imaginative play time where they get to call the shots and no one is dictating to them what they should do or think.  These are the times when their brains can process what they have learned and assimilate knowledge on their own terms.

For us, play breaks take place amongst toys like blocks, action figures, trains, and stuffed animals.  Or else we go outside on the play structure, play ground, or other natural setting.  When my boys play, I find that they will often reenact History lessons, re-create literature stories, or coincidentally discover real life applications from their Math or Art lessons.  This is where there learning is cemented into their brains.

I came across this Time article today:  Yay For Recess that I think is a perfect reminder and support for teachers and parents everywhere to let our New Years resolutions to be more breaks and play time for our kids.

This year our motto will be:  "Learn Hard.  Play Hard."


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