The Secret To Happy, Ready-to-Learn Kids (Hint: It’s Not Test Prep. Or Is it?)

Hi Readers! This is just a beyond-belief great playground idea:

As simple as it gets. As fun as it gets. And (if we must justify the idea of kids doing things on their own) as developmentally rich as it gets.

Watch it and weep — with joy for the kids with this kind of recess, with sadness for those who never get to do anything this free-form with THEIR friends. As the narators on the video say, “Children who are happier and engaged in play have a better experience in school.” This kind of “mixed-age, mixed gender” creative fun results in, “increased critical skills development.” Through open-ended play kids learn “team work, negotiation, risk management, conflict resolution, problem-solving.” They have fewer playground disputes because they’re busy having fun!  All of which adds up to “Happier, engaged students.”

Engaged students are GOOD students. Teachers! Principals! Superintendents! Why not substitute a bit of test prep for a bit more junkyard recess time? It’s such a SIMPLE thing that can change the school day SO MUCH! (And thanks to Tim Gill for sending it along!) — L.

Principal Declares Recess is NOT “Free Time”

Hi Readers! Sometimes I think our society has come so far from darkness to enlightenment (no more Inquisition, for instance; no more Scarlet A’s) that we have come full circle and are now back to being idiots. A case in point? This principal’s letter to parents about why she doesn’t want kids to consider recess  “free time.”

“[Our school is working to] change the perception of recess from free time away from learning to a valuable learning experience that will teach them and will help them cope in all social settings and environments. When children view recess as “free time” they have a tendency to act in a less responsible manner and push the limits of irresponsible behavior. In order to change the perception of recess, children must see that its content is respected and valued.”

Principal Mumbo-Jumbo is so into respecting “content” (whatever the heck that means) that she has outlawed tag! I guess by NOT running around, and NOT having carefree fun, and by thinking long and hard about LEARNING every single second of the day, these kids are going to turn into marvels of responsibility.

If they don’t tie her to the flag pole  first.

Anyway, this isn’t my school, it’s the school that one of our readers sends her kids to, and here is her pleasantly profane blog post about the whole situation. Meantime, she is meeting with the principal this Friday to try to talk about the no tag/no freedom recess situation. She’s looking for moral support and some blow-that-bloviator-away arguments. Go for it! — Lenore

Photo Credit: Visual Dichotomy

Remember, kids: Just because it’s “free time” doesn’t mean it’s free time!