Give Childhood back to Children

I came across this piece from Peter Gray, a research professor of psychology at Boston College, published in The Independent a year ago.  The opening paragraph – “if we want our offspring to have happy, productive and moral lives, we must allow more time for play, not less”.

With a key role in providing recreational spaces that encourage people to get outside, to play, to challenge themselves, to be physically and mentally stimulated, to enjoy time with friends and family, we are of course passionate about the importance of play in our children’s development.  We need to create spaces where children want to be.

To continue quoting from the article …….

“Most problems in life cannot be solved with formulae or memorised answers of the type learnt in school. They require the judgement, wisdom and creative ability that come from life experiences. For children, those experiences are embedded in play.”

“Teachers may or may not have watched us, from a distance, but if they did, they rarely intervened. We wrestled on the school grounds, climbed trees in the adjacent woods, played with knives and had snowball wars in winter – none of which would be allowed today at any state-run school I know of.”

“for the most part, we were free – free to play for hours each day after school, all day on weekends, and all summer long. Homework was non-existent in primary school and minimal in secondary school. There seemed to be an implicit understanding, then, that children need lots of time and freedom to play.”

“the Chinese ministry of education issued a report – entitled Ten Regulations to Lessen Academic Burden for Primary School Students – calling for less time in school, less homework and less reliance on test scores as a means of evaluating schools.”

I’m guessing that if you have read this far, you’ll love the complete article –

Give Childhood Back to Children – The Independent, 12th January 2014