I have partnered with Genius of Play to share about the importance of play in your children’s lives. Now that kids are back to school, I thought the following topic would be perfect to discuss on the Bloggin’ Mamas blog:
Should schools need to allow more play – including recess?
Last Spring, we moved to Orlando from South Florida. I joined a local Facebook group to get familiar with the community. It was through this group, I discovered that our kids were only getting about one day of recess a week and the rest of the days were physical fitness classes. This was never discussed with us by the school when we registered the kids. When my son had told me this initially, I thought he must surely be wrong. I could not fathom only having one day of recess, and that recess only being about 20 minutes long. The post in the group turned into a whole discussion on the importance of free play, and how the physical fitness classes were structured play and therefore should be a separate time. They had talked about parent group that was formed already, and making petitions, but that everything was falling on deaf ears. It was so frustrating to hear that this was happening in our schools. I had coordinated after school and prevention programs in South Florida, and knew that most of our grants required a certain amount of free play time in the schedule. It just didn’t make sense to me how a public school did not have daily free play built into their schedule. Fortunately, within two months of that discussion, the Florida State Senate unanimously passed a bill requiring the schools to offer at least 20 minutes of recess daily. There was no party affiliations that mattered here, because they all agreed that recess should be a requirement, not just an option.
Last year, I watched “Where to Invade Next,” a documentary by Michael Moore. In this movie, he “invaded” Finland. Finland used to have one of the worst educational systems, alongside the US. However, they have since moved into the position of having one of the best educational systems in the world. Moore wanted to know what they changed in their system in order to achieve this. The answers: No Homework, More Free Play, and Less Time in School. They spoke with the principals and teachers who all agreed that children needed free time to explore and learn, so they did not have homework and only needed to attend school for about 20 hours a week. Learning of this actually inspired me to enroll my daughter in Florida Virtual School, which has no homework and requires my daughter to have 20 lesson hours a week. My son, however, wished to remain in the regular public school. It was an interesting contrast to compare. My daughter went from needing a reading tutor in second grade, to scoring almost in the top percentile on her third grade testing which requires they pass in order to move up to fourth grade. We also saw my daughter going from being below grade level, to being on the Honor Roll the entire school year. My son was in first grade, when we first moved.
Here’s Some More Parents Discussing this Very Important Topic
You can find other videos with discussions around play by clicking HERE!
About the Genius of Play
The Genius of Play has a goal is to increase awareness of the social, emotional, and physical benefits of play among parents- plus encourage parents to tell their kids to go play. It has a mission is to provide families with the information and inspiration they need to make play an important part of their child’s day. Through their website and social media channels, parents can find facts, useful tips and expert advice on how toys and play can help kids build confidence, creativity, critical thinking and other skills that will serve them throughout their lives. Plus, you can get ideas on how to keep playtime fun and fresh!
Disclosure: Bloggin’ Mamas received compensation as part of this partnership. All opinions expressed are our own.