Who would have believed it? I was reading the NY TIMES, and discovered that a school district in Maryland has just made a great discovery – kindergarten students need time to play! I have no idea what educator came to this conclusion, but he/she cannot have been either a parent or an observer of children.
The tragedy is that in the rush to make sure that we improve education, we have gone overboard on curriculum and have forgotten the wonderful world of the imagination. If you have played with a developing child lately, that little person will probably invite you into a world of sipping imaginary tea or sailing unwatered seas on a pirate ship that might be a fallen log. Get in the spirit of it and you will have a delightful time.
Educators seem to have forgotten this. The creative parts of formal schooling such as art and music are always the first to be cut from the school day and recess has rapidly become an unknown term. Whatever happened to “All work and no play...”? Since teaching proverbs is out also, no one learns that wonderful reminder any more either. We have forgotten that to our deteriment.
And now someone has decided that five-year-olds need creative play time. Their teachers have gone back to school to learn how to teach it. I shuddered at that since I would just turn the little people loose with a sand box or a pile of blocks or a play kitchen and let them go at it. They can teach us adults a thing or two.
While I am celebrating imagination time for the smallest of learners, may I remind all of us that we need our “loose” mind time too. Vary the details of your day. Give yourself thinking time by turning off the email and the cell phone for a bit and, as Emily Dickinson reminds us, take the time “to sit and stare”.
Who knows what great idea might pop into your head? I love the possibility.