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How Important is Play?

“Look at me!”

“Ms. Kelly, Look at me!”

These girls insist as I walk across the playground. They want to show me how high they can jump. They want me to see their fabulous cartwheels and their amazing somersaults. What if adults did this, I wonder? Why don’t I run and jump and throw myself to the ground in a series of somersaults? Wouldn’t it be funny to see the adults racing about the playground like the children do? What happens to us, why do we stop racing?

Play is such an important part of childhood development and yet many schools around the world have opted to trade that precious playtime for more academics.

The research is clear: playing is an essential part of learning. At ISD, we encourage families to play with their children and to provide lots of after school playtime. Students who play get a chance to practice using their problem solving strategies, their negotiation abilities; they get a chance to be creative, physical, and to have fun. They blow off steam, learn to share, take turns, and plan for next steps.

Play is necessary and it is important for parents and caregivers to join in the play. The article below, from the American Academy of Pediatrics, describes ways in which parents should join in and when they should let children figure things out on their own. There are repercussions when students don’t get enough play. It’s kind of like not getting enough sleep or enough proper nutrition. Children can suffer health related challenges if they don’t get enough play.

Click her to see what Pediatrics have to say about play.

I am always encouraging our faculty to move, scan, and interact with the students while they are on the playground. I encourage you to do the same. Join in the game, have fun, blow off some steam and you might find that you too are more productive after a little play time.

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