Recess Revolution

Written by Robin Gee, Collins Preschool Director on .

What a wonderful start we have had this school year! September has been a month for children to adjust to all the new rhythms, rituals, and routines. One important way to help your child start off the day on the right foot is to ensure your child comes to school on time. This allows for some well-needed playtime with their friends before officially making the home-school transition. Also, keep in mind that one of the most important parts of the day is Circle Time. During this time the children are not only exposed to new concepts and discussions, but it helps set the tone for the day. A smooth Circle Time virtually guarantees a smooth day and eases separation anxiety.

As we move into the second full month of school, we are excited to jump into the serious business of play and learning. In preschool, learning is happening constantly! Some of the most significant learning that is hard to replicate outside of a preschool classroom occurs in: Circle Time, Learning Centers and through play.

At our September Parent Speaker event, Recess Revolution, we were reminded just how much children actually learn through play. Robots are taking over menial tasks and jobs, but there are some things robots simply can’t do. These non-robot skills and abilities are precisely what our children need to be good at in order to eventually be successful in the modern workforce: Creativity, Collaboration, Communication and Critical Thinking. If we could add one more “C” to that list it would be Conflict Resolution. And, all of these skills are perhaps best learned through play.

Creativity is a skill or ability, the importance of which is often underestimated. If we want our children to think like entrepreneurs, we can’t always prescribe the rules of play or schedule them to the hilt with organized activities. Children’s brains go through a process of synaptic pruning from infancy until about age 20. Kristin Shepherd from Recess Revolution conjectured that perhaps we cause this process of pruning to go too far, as illustrated by the image of the stick. Think about the stick from the perspective of a child who hasn't yet had the creativity pruned away. Do we want robot thinkers or Steve Jobs thinkers? Without a doubt, organized activities like soccer and tee-ball have their own benefits. But, it is unstructured play that activates and develops creativity.

Another concern raised by Shepherd is that we may be overly insulating children from conflict. For many of us, conflict feels uncomfortable. We may be tempted to step in to resolve an issue between children because we want to avoid unfairness or hurt feelings. But, the subtle message this can convey is that children aren’t capable of resolving conflict without the help of an authority figure. Our children will eventually need to function in a society that is pretty polarized, and what a gift is would be if we could send them out into the world with the ability and confidence to creatively and amicably resolve conflict. 

(some photos from the Recess Revolution parent speaker and playdate)

-One parent exclaimed, “This is great, they are conflicting!

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